The temperature isn't the only thing freezing up this winter. Your joints are also protesting the arrival of colder temperatures. Whether your back, your knees, your hands, or your feet are the culprits, there are a few things you can do to beat the winter ache.
The Cold Connection
It's important to understand why cold weather and joint pain go together. While changes in weather and temperature can affect your mood, activity level and comfort, studies have found that it's a change in barometric pressure that causes joint pain. Barometric (or atmospheric) pressure is the force the atmosphere exerts on an object. Developing storms cause barometric pressure to drop while clear skies are associated with higher pressure. High pressure also keeps the tissues inside of your body from expanding. As pressure falls, your tendons and ligaments expand causing pressure on nerves and resulting pain. You cannot control barometric pressure outside, but you can combat its effects.
1. Drink More Water
It is tempting to rely on drinking coffee and tea during winter months for their warming properties. While a single cup of coffee or a mug of green tea have inflammation-busting antioxidants, caffeine can have a diuretic effect on your joints if you drink it in excess. Water, on the other hand, promotes synovial fluid production, the fluid that lubricates your joints. Drinking water before a meal can also limit your caloric intake and prevent holiday weight gain which also has an effect on how your joints feel.
2. Get Moving!
As tempting as it is to sit by the fire and avoid the chill, exercise eases joint pain, even in winter months. Now is the perfect time to resurrect your gym membership, take a fitness class, do an exercise video indoors, or stretch while watching your favorite show. Plugging exercise into your routine, especially in the morning hours when you have a tendency to be the stiffest, will ease the ache throughout your day.
3. Stay Warm
Stiff, achy joints are often made stiffer and achier by a lack of blood flow to your muscles in an attempt to keep your organs warm and functioning. Adding gloves, hats, layers of clothing or even wraps to your aching joints can hold in the heat and ease the ache. Just be sure to pay attention to your hands and feet as these are the areas where most pain and stiffness originates in the winter.
4. Visit the Chiropractor
When nerves become crowded, pinched or inflamed the way they do when your soft tissues expand in lower barometric pressure, the aches and pains that result are your body's way of telling you there is a problem. The same painful aches occur when your spine and joints are out of alignment. Combine everyday stressors and the physical demands we place on our bodies with colder temperatures and you have a recipe for winter pain. Fortunately, chiropractic care can realign your spine and joints, allowing the soft tissues room for expansion without pain.
Call Pure Wellness today and find out how chiropractic can keep you moving, pain-free this winter.