A recent pioneering study of 12,500 Britons has confirmed what almost all joint pain sufferers already knew: joint pain gets worse in cold weather.1 So what can you do about it? Here are 8 simple ways to help ease your joint pain this winter.

Move It

When you’re feeling cramped up and in pain, the easiest thing to do is stay indoors huddled underneath a blanket. Actually, that may be the worst thing you can do. Staying sedentary can cause you to seize up, which is why your joints often feel stiffer when you wake in the morning.2 Low impact exercise – for example swimming, cycling or walking – works best for people with joint pain. For this reason, you might want to invest in a gym membership – because if it’s too cold, you’ll want to walk on a treadmill or cycle on an exercise bike, rather than brave the frost.

Ease into exercise gently

While it’s true that exercise can help with joint pain immensely, it’s important to exercise caution! Don’t just roll out of bed onto your yoga mat: take some time to get your circulation flowing and ease yourself into physical activity before you launch into a workout – you don’t want to give your freshly awoken joints a nasty shock. Also, make sure that you stretch properly after exercise.

Warm up before things cool down

Before you venture into the cold, take a few minutes to warm up. It is particularly important to get your core nice and warm because this can help to loosen your joints. You can do this by marching on the spot for several minutes at a comfortable pace. After that, stretch out your major muscle groups. This will leave you stronger, looser and more ready to brave the cold.3

Take a warm shower

Heat stimulates blood flow, improves circulation, and can help with range of motion and relax muscles. A nice warm shower will help to loosen stiff joints and ease you into your day.4

Wear plenty of layers outside – but nothing super-tight

You want to keep yourself covered without cutting off your circulation! Loose layers trap body warmth, helping to heat joints. It’s usually good to first put on a thin synthetic layer (avoid cotton), followed by some kind of fleece, and finish with a breathable, waterproof outer piece.5 Don’t forget warm hats, boots and gloves to keep your extremities protected.

Avoid opioid painkillers wherever possible

Anyone who has experienced the crippling joint pain brought on by conditions like osteoarthritis will testify that sometimes in the grip of pain, the easiest thing is to reach for the strongest painkiller that is available to you. But as the USA’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent guidance on joint pain relief asserts, what feels the best in the short-term is not necessarily healthiest in the long term.6

Drink Plenty of Water

We most often think of dehydration as a summer problem but actually, keeping topped up with water is just as important in cold weather too. We still lose fluid in winter, and when we become dehydrated, our ligaments and tendons can stiffen, contributing to discomfort. This is particularly important when you are exercising – try to stay watered before, during and after a workout. In fact it’s usually a good idea to drink 2 cups of water 2 hours before you exercise.7

Replace your healthy joint fluid

Rather than heading straight for painful surgery or filling up on side-effect riddled opioids that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls ‘risky’8, many in the know are turning to Viscosupplement injections to combat joint pain. Viscosupplementation is a proven, leading-edge method to treat the joint pain and reduced mobility associated with problems like osteoarthritis and injury.

The treatment consists of an injection of fluid which mirrors the function of your very own young, healthy joint fluid of the past. This injected fluid, hyaluronic acid, is actually naturally occurring in your own joint fluid to start with. Once injected, it cushions and lubricates your joints to alleviate pain and make movement easier again. Through extensive, peer-reviewed research, Viscosupplementation has been confirmed to have far fewer and much milder associated side effects than other treatments for joint pain and osteoarthritis.

Don’t “grin and bear” your joint pain this winter. Call 020 7118 1771 for a consultation with a pain specialist.

References
1 https://www.cloudywithachanceofpain.com/
2 http://www.fox10phoenix.com/health/221989673-story
3 http://blog.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/10-tips-cold-weather-exercise-arthritis
4 http://www.everydayhealth.com/arthritis/heat-and-cold-therapy.aspx
5 http://blog.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/10-tips-cold-weather-exercise-arthritis
6 http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2585990
7 http://www.fox10phoenix.com/health/221989673-story
8 http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2585990