If you have arthritis, winter is probably not your favorite time of year, and for good reason. Although the cause isn’t entirely known, cold weather seems to make arthritis joint pain and stiffness even worse than normal. However, there are ways to manage arthritis in cold months.
- Stay active. Exercise helps to ease pain, increase strength and flexibility, and boost energy, which is why it’s so important for people living with arthritis. However, the cold weather can make it harder to get outside though, so try mall walking or an exercise class here at SCOA.
- Get your flu, pneumonia, and COVID-19 vaccines. People with autoimmune forms of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and others are more likely to get sick with things like colds, flu, COVID-19, and pneumonia. Getting and staying up to date on vaccines is a great way to combat that.
- Stay warm. Heat helps your stiff joints by boosting blood flow that helps to get rid of pain and raise your pain tolerance. Heat also helps to relax your muscles. Try taking a warm shower or bath, using heating pads or electric blankets, and dressing warmly.
- Wear compression gloves. Thermal compression gloves are one way you can keep your hands warm, and the compression helps to alleviate swelling too.
- Avoid falls. Injuries caused by falls only make arthritis worse, so do what you can to prevent falls. Wear sensible footwear, avoid icy areas, and consider a cane or walker if you need to.
- Avoid vitamin D deficiency. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to more severe versions of rheumatoid arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. Not enough vitamin D can also lead to more pain sensitivity. Try to include more vitamin D in your diet with things like fatty fish and fortified products like orange juice, milk, and cereals. You can also add vitamin D as a supplement if needed.