Cold Weather and Arthritis | 5 Tips for Preventing Pain

Are painful arthritis flare-ups keeping you from doing the things you enjoy during the winter? Unfortunately, cold, damp weather and inactivity can both contribute to joint stiffness and discomfort. If this sounds all too familiar to you, don’t miss these quick tips for preventing arthritis pain in cold weather:

Keep Moving
While it might seem more pertinent to hunker down under a warm blanket at home during cold days, it is widely known that physical activity plays a key role in keeping joints loose and mobilized. Find a way to exercise each day, even if it’s just for 15 minutes at a time. Try going for a walk, practicing yoga, swimming, biking, or even simply exercising at home with a stability ball and resistance bands.

Wear Layers
Heavy winter clothes may feel great at first, but they can quickly increase your body temperature and actually leave you sweating underneath them. When that moisture on your body mixes with cool air, you have a recipe for freezing and making your joint pain worse. Opt instead to wear multiple light, breathable layers of clothing when heading out on cold days and always cover vulnerable joints with gloves and other accessories to keep them warm.

Update Your Arthritis Toolbox
Invest in basic tools that simplify daily tasks that can become more difficult during arthritis flare-ups. For example, a soft, wide handle grip that you slide over utensils like a fork or toothbrush can make it easier to eat and brush your teeth when your hands are sore and stiff. Tools like jar openers, reacher grabbers, button hooks, and dressing sticks can help too.

Get a Massage
Massage therapy has long been touted as an effective method for managing arthritis symptoms and for good reason. Massage can loosen tight muscles that are constricting joint motion and it can boost blood circulation and trigger the brain to release feel-good hormones. You can turn the heat up on a professional massage too with warm oils, hot towels, and even hot stones.

Eat Warm Foods
Oftentimes the foods that are promoted to help relieve inflammation are also those that generate thermogenic (temperature increasing) properties in the body. Ginger, cayenne, and turmeric, for example, have been shown to help relax and expand blood vessels for improved blood flow that benefits arthritic joints. Try them in a warming winter tea or soup.