Winter can be a challenging time for people with arthritis. Cold weather can increase joint pain and stiffness and you may also be more prone to feelings of isolation and depression, as it can be harder to get out and about.
Here are some simple tips to help you stay well over winter and manage your arthritis symptoms.
Dress for the weather
This is common sense, of course, but it is amazing how many of us get chilled by going outside without wearing the right type of clothing. It can be a particular problem if we are just popping out for a few minutes, as we may not always stop to put on layers of warm clothing.
In the depths of winter you can get chilled very quickly, particularly if it is raining or snowing, so always take time to put on a coat, hat, gloves, scarf, waterproofs or whatever is right for the weather conditions.
Stay inside on the coldest days
Getting outside and staying active is good for your mental and physical health, however on the coldest days it can be a good idea to stay indoors if you can.
Try to keep your home warm by setting your thermostat to a temperature that feels comfortable. A heating pad can be good for easing stiff and painful joints. When you are in bed, an electric blanket can also be beneficial.
It is important to keep active during the winter months. Exercise helps to prevent joint stiffness and supports you to maintain a healthy body weight, which avoids putting your joints under added strain. Exercising also releases endorphins which are our body’s natural painkillers.
Walking outside is a great way to exercise. Always aim to warm up your muscles before going outside by doing some gentle stretching. This can ease aching joints and help prevent strains and sprains. Avoid doing strenuous physical exercise in cold weather, such as raking leaves or shovelling snow, as this can exacerbate already aching joints and may lead to injuries.
Eat a healthy balanced diet
This is important at any time of the year but particularly during the colder months as the food you eat can increase or reduce swelling and stiffness.
Try to eat a low cholesterol diet that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation. Cutting back on sugar and avoiding high-fructose corn syrup can also help.
Think about your mind as well as your body
When it comes to managing chronic pain, the way you think and feel can have a big impact. That is why it’s important to continue doing the things you love even though the weather may be cold and damp. Make time to see friends and get outside in the fresh air, when the weather allows. Some people use meditation and yoga to help them relax and improve their sense of wellbeing.
If you have arthritis symptoms – pain, stiffness, inflammation, loss of mobility or deformity of the joints – it is important to get a prompt diagnosis from an orthopaedic specialist.
A number of treatments are available that can help to slow the development of the disease or support you to manage your symptoms. Your orthopaedic consultant can advise you on the best treatment plan for you, depending on your diagnosis and symptoms.
Arthritis diagnosis and treatment | London
Mr Vivek Gulati is an experienced orthopaedic consultant with the expertise to perform non-surgical treatments or joint replacement surgery.
For your appointment there is a choice of locations:
The London Clinic – 116 Harley Street, London, W1G 7JL, Directions
BMI The London Independent Hospital, 1 Beaumont Square, Stepney Green, London, E1 4NL, Directions
Our Consultation Fees are clearly presented here.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your treatment options with a specialist, please contact the team.