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With winter around the corner and the cold weather already starting, many with joint pain and stiffness from arthritis dread this time of year. If you fall into this category, you are not alone.

But why does this happen?

The science equating colder weather affecting joint pain is inconclusive. Some studies find no correlation, yet others add validity to what is termed “weather sensitivity” – when your arthritis feels worse in the colder weather, especially when it’s about to rain or snow. Fortunately, Orange County, Calif. doesn’t see snow, but it can get awfully cold and unfortunately many of our patients say their arthritis pain increases during this time.

Another reason why we are inclined to believe this is that arthritis sufferers often report having “fluid retention” – thicker fluid in their joints and tissues. The cold temperatures of winter also seem to increase the thickness of fluid in the joints. When this happens, it may make them stiffer and more sensitive to pain. Some scientist say this phenomenon is related to the drop in barometric pressure which can lead to contraction and expansion of the soft tissue in and around your joints causing further irritation and pain.

Whether you think arthritis feels worse in winter or not, there are things you can do to help minimize the painful inflammation in your joints.

Reduce Inflammation Naturally 

One reason why a joint feels painful is because it gets inflamed. By understanding how to ease the inflammation then there is a good chance we could help relieve the pain of arthritis. There are two different ways we can do this. First, we can use drugs or take a more natural approach, such as eating an anti-inflammatory diet, which is one of the easiest ways to do this. Researchers are linking anti-inflammatory diets to better overall health in general and benefitting hearth and brain health, while potentially reducing the risk of some cancers.

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An anti-inflammatory diet consists of eating more fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains. Limit foods that contain unhealthy fats (like red meat, butter, and egg yolks), and limit refined sugars and carbohydrates. You can also include more herbs and spices into your meals. Basil, dill, oregano, rosemary, thyme, black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, garlic, turmeric, and anise are some of the most powerful anti-inflammatory herbs. For cold months, make yourself a nice cup of hot tea, which can also have anti-inflammatory properties and just warms you up regardless.

Move! Move and Keep Moving! 

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Another way to relieve the pain of arthritis is to work on your strength and flexibility. Arthritic joints don’t like to be irritated or compressed. When your joints are irritated or compressed, they feel the need to rest. The only way to protect your joints is to be strong and flexible. Moving is not only necessary for health, it is necessary to avoid getting inflamed and irritated. The more mobile you are, the less likely your joints will be irritated, even those with arthritis. The muscles surrounding your joints also need to be strong

to keep your joints stable. Arthritic joints don’t want to be stiff and tight, they want to be free and mobile. Without mobility and strength, your joints will compensate by becoming stiff and tight, causing them to become arthritic and tight. The only way to reverse this situation is to build muscle and strengthen your joints.

As we age, it is even more important to keep moving. The science is clear on this. The good news is it is never too late to start. Exercise is one of the few actions we take that have increased benefit no matter when or what age we start. Daily walking is one of the best things you can do for both your physical and cognitive health.

As the weather turns cold and you don’t want to exercise outside, there are many ways to keep moving inside. Fortunately, with the internet and a variety of cable stations and streaming options there is surely a few programs or sites that can help you accomplish this goal safely, which will make the effort worth it to help reduce pain.

Tai Chi, Yoga, and Pilates are great choices for people who suffer from arthritis. They are especially good because they are less compressive on joints, and they incorporate moves that help to promote good mobility. In addition, they help build your core strength and help to maintain balance. With all that in mind, it’s no wonder that these activities are gaining in popularity and a good choice.

The Bottom Line 

Eat well, exercise regularly, and take good care of yourself will help control the pain and joint stiffness of arthritis. Controlling the weather is something we can’t do, but we have the knowledge to help keep arthritis under control. If you need assistance getting started with an exercise program or reducing pain, we are always here to help.

We are Here to Help Get You Started to Better Health.
Contact us Today!

Garden Grove/
Orange:
714.643.9012

Costa Mesa/
Newport Beach:
949.631.0125

Irvine/Lake Forest:
949.750.8499

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