Remedies for Winter Arthritis Pain
As temperatures hover around freezing, arthritis pain spikes to unbearable levels. Wintertime pain is often the worst pain of the year. When a cold storm moves into the area, those living with arthritis feel miserable from the aching, stabbing and grinding in the joints.
Why do arthritic joints hurt worse in the winter? Joint stiffness is worse in the cold. Nerve function is worse in the cold. Atmospheric pressure changes from storms trigger pain. Slippery conditions can stress certain joints. Cold climates are just not the place to be when arthritis affects your joints. Why do you think so many retired people winter in warmer places? Part of the answer is the fact that arthritis pain is better in warmer climates.
If over wintering in a warmer climate is not an option, you might want to consider some remedies for winter arthritis pain.
- Warmer Clothes: I once heard that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes. Wool, fleece, Gortex, Thinsulate; these are just a few materials you might look for in winter clothing. Warm gloves are essential for those with arthritic hands. Wool socks critical for sore feet. Base layers made of silk are thin enough to conceal but provide a surprising amount of extra warmth in frigid temperatures. And don’t forget a cozy hat to help you maintain your body temperature.
- Additional Heat: If you have a cold bedroom, consider an electric room heater. Cold beds might benefit from electric blankets. Sore backs love a heating pad. Sore feet are relieved with a warm-water soak. Arthritic hands greatly benefit from a hot paraffin wax treatment. And if you really want to splurge, try an infrared sauna. Adding some additional sources of heat in your life might help remedy your winter arthritis pain.
- Winter Medication: During the winter months, you might want to use medications that you don’t normally use. Try the over-the-counter medications first like ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and acetaminophen. You probably won’t need to take these medications year-round, but they are certainly helpful when you are afflicted by winter arthritic pain. If these medications are not strong enough, consider talking to your doctor about other options like tramadol.
Although these remedies can help, they are not perfect. Living with arthritis pain during the winter months is as painfully inevitable as taxes. Just remember, that spring is near and the promise of warmer weather will be at hand. The winter months will pass quickly if you keep your mind on more important things like love, joy, and faith.
Christina Lasich, M.D., wrote about chronic pain and osteoarthritis for HealthCentral. She is physiatrist in Grass Valley, California. She specializes in pain management and spine rehabilitation.