Most patients have admitted to believing that cold and/or damp days are the days when the stiffness and pain in their joints act up the most. So what are the cold, hard facts (pun intended) about arthritis and cold weather? What can you do to ease the discomfort you may feel?
Does cold weather affect joint pain and arthritis?
I wish there was an easy answer to this question, but the truth is that there is reasonable debate as to whether the cold winter months directly affect joint pain and arthritis.
Some studies have supported the theory that the barometric pressure changes from weather affect the pressure within the joint capsule; it’s similar to the pressure you might feel in your ears when you fly or dive. Other studies support the theory that cold temperatures have a direct effect on the synovial fluid within the joint capsule – which would affect the inflammatory mediators the same way cold temperatures can affect the oil in your car.
Still, other studies have found little to no link to cold weather and joint pains like arthritis. For the sake of this article, let’s just focus on the FACT whether there’s a viable link or not, you feel pain when it’s cold out.
Things you can do to minimize joint pain and arthritis
Eat these: Fruits, wild seafood, nuts and deeply-pigmented vegetables like spinach, kale and cabbage. This will help put more Omega-3 fatty acid into your diet, as well as some fiber and natural anti-inflammatory compounds. Herbs and foods such as turmeric, oregano, garlic, green tea, blueberries, and ginger contain bioflavonoids and polyphenols that limit free-radical production in the body.
Take supplements: Glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin may help by nourishing cartilage and increasing lubrication in your joints. You can also consider D3 (the kind your body creates from sunlight). Before taking any supplements, please check with your doctor as some supplements can interact negatively with prescriptions.
Get moving: Exercise helps keep your joints active and lubricated, which means less pain. You’ll want to consider something easy on joints, like yoga or tai chi; these will help your range of motion too!
Chiropractic care: Chiropractic care can’t cure arthritis. But you can feel more comfortable by having a chiropractor focus on mobilizing your joints and slowing the progression of the disease.
By focusing on the cause of irritation to your nervous system, or the irregular function of muscle, joints and your vascular system, chiropractic can help remove pressure on your nerves and restore range of motion. This, in turn, helps your body relax and heal.
Other treatments can also be used in addition to manipulation, including massage therapy, heat and ice therapy, ultrasound therapy, electronic stimulation, rehabilitative exercises, ART and AIS.