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Do you notice an increase in joint pain as the temperatures drop? Colder weather may cause an old injury to flare up for people of a wide range of ages. But there may be ways you can find relief in spite of dropping temperatures outside. While none are guaranteed to make you pain-free, they're certainly worth a try! The following tips can help decrease your chances of pain and might even make you love winter a little more (if you don't already!).
As the mercury dips, take steps to stay warm indoors and out. Keep blankets at the ready in the living room for snuggly warmth as you curl up to watch your favorite movies or shows. Outside, be sure to keep your hands covered with gloves even if the temperature doesn't seem too frigid. Choose water-proof gloves or mittens if there's a chance that your hands will get wet. Also dress your legs and knees warmly by adding leggings, tights and other layers.
Dressing in layers allows you to more easily accommodate changes to the temperature as it rises and falls throughout the day, which can help prevent cold weather joint pain. By wearing several pairs of thin gloves over your hands, for example, you can manage the level of warmth they need depending on how chilly it is outside.
Avid outdoor athletes are often ready to head outside no matter the temperature. But with a little creativity, you can devise an indoor exercise plan that will help you stay active, too (and reduce the chance of flare-ups from past injuries or other issues). Invest in a treadmill, check out a yoga class at your local parks and recreation department, or head for a heated pool if you have access to one nearby. Always check with your doctor first before starting any exercise program.
Not only can low levels of vitamin D make you more sensitive to arthritis, they can also increase your risk for osteoporosis, according to research published in Pain Management's September 2015 issue. During the winter months, you're even less likely to get the vitamin D you need from sunlight, its natural source. Consult with your doctor to determine if you need supplements to ensure your vitamin D levels are where they need to be.
Make an appointment with your doctor to get an accurate measurement of your height and weight so your body mass index can be calculated. According to The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), losing weight provides people with knee arthritis with significant improvements. If you're overweight, then commit to losing the weight in a gradual and healthy way.
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