For those who suffer from daily aches and joint pain, cooler temperatures can increase discomfort. Some people who are dealing with arthritis notice that their pain worsens during certain times of the year. If you find that seasonal changes are triggering arthritis flare-ups, our team at Free Body Physical Therapy can help! We can evaluate your condition and design a personalized treatment regimen that works for you and does not aggravate your joint pain. Continue reading to discover more about the connection between weather changes and arthritis and what you can do to manage your symptoms this fall.
How Does Weather Affect Arthritis?
Arthritis is a prevalent condition that causes joint inflammation. Inflamed joints can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. There are several forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is generally caused by repetitive movements and age-related wear and tear, and rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease. There is a well-known connection between the weather and arthritis pain. Many people with arthritis experience more intense symptoms with weather changes, especially during the chillier months. Here are some of the ways that cold weather can trigger an arthritis flare:
- Cooler temperatures may increase the viscosity of joint fluids, causing them to become more stiff and harder to move.
- During the colder months, changes in barometric pressure can cause the muscles, tendons, and bones to expand and contract. A sudden drop in temperature can cause pain and stiffness in the affected joints.
- Colder weather can keep people from staying active, which can worsen arthritis symptoms.
Managing Arthritis This Fall
While arthritis is an incurable condition, there are a variety of ways you can treat and manage your symptoms. Here’s how you can help yourself cope with arthritis symptoms this fall:
- Keep Active – Many people avoid exercise because they feel it will worsen their symptoms. However, this is a common misconception. Exercise is vital for individuals living with arthritis. Physical activity can help ease pain, boost energy, and increase flexibility and strength. Our team can help devise a physical therapy program that keeps you active and avoids aggravating your joint pain. You can even stay active indoors this fall by performing household chores, walking indoors, or doing light stretching at home.
- Stay Warm – Heat therapy is great for stiff joints. Heat helps boost blood flow that stimulates pain relief. Warmth also relaxes stiff muscles and decreases spasms. Heating pads, a warm soak, or even holding a hot cup of coffee can help quell joint pain.
- Dress Warm – Getting dressed during an arthritis flare-up can be a struggle. Dressing in light layers can help insulate your core, allowing warmer blood to flow to the extremities.
- Weight Management – It’s common to gain a few extra pounds during the colder months since all we want to do is stay inside and avoid the cold. However, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy weight to reduce the stress on our joints. Minor changes to your diet and regular exercise can help ease joint pain.
During the fall and winter, nagging arthritis pain can be frustrating and cause you to want to hunker down inside, but it’s essential to try and resist. Stiff joints will only worsen if you keep them inactive for too long. If you want to feel better this season, you need to stay active. Here at Free Body Physical Therapy, we want to help patients ward off stiffness and joint pain. We will design a physical therapy program that works for your unique needs, so you can stay active and keep pain at bay. To learn more about physical therapy for arthritis or to schedule an appointment, be sure to contact our team today!