How to Ease Off Joint Pains in the Winter?
A young twenty-six-year-old woman, Ananya, who works in an MNC for 9-10 hours daily has a hectic and a stressful life. This leaves her with no time for any kind of physical exercise routine. She feels herself to be physically fit but with the onset of winters, she starts experiencing joint pains and stiffness. She initially thought it would go away but it worsened during the coldest period.
Ananya is not the only one who is suffering from joint pains. Today, more and more people below the age of 30 are suffering from joint and muscle related problems. This is because of the highly sedentary lifestyles and increased consumption of a diet high in trans fat and sugar. These factors contribute to increased risk of developing arthritis and chronic joint pains.
We all know the age-old method when Granny’s based on their joint pains predicted the change in weather. But why cold weather triggers joint pains is still controversial. One of the most cited reason is the change in the atmospheric pressure. Change in weather causes changes in the atmospheric pressure resulting in more inflamed tissue leading to swelling and pain.
Here are few lifestyle changes one can incorporate into their routine life to ease off joint pains this winter:
1. Eat healthy: Supplement your body with
a) Vitamin D: Stock up dairy products and spend at least 15 minutes in sunlight daily to increase the intake of Vitamin D. Its deficiency may worsen up the pain.
b) Omega 3 fatty acids: Omega 3 fatty acids have been found to be very effective in reducing inflammation. Include Salmon, nuts, fish oil in your diet. Avoid foods high in omega-6 fatty acids, such as corn oil, junk food etc. which may trigger painful inflammation.
c) Vitamin K: Useful because of its pain-soothing properties. Include greens in your meal such as spinach, fenugreek(methi), cabbage, kale, etc.
d) Vitamin C: Helpful in halting cartilage loss associated with arthritis. Add juicy oranges, sweet red peppers, tomatoes, amla and other vitamin C-rich foods in your diet.
2. Stay active to avoid joint pains:
a) Regular walks: Go for 30 minutes walk daily. If cold weather makes you lazy to go out in the mornings go for an afternoon walk.
b) Stretch regularly: Stretch your muscles as it helps maintain your mobility.
3. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water in winters as dehydration reduces flexibility and increases stiffness.
4. Get a massage: Massage therapy by a professional helps in relaxing the muscles around the painful joints thereby reducing pain and making you more mobile.
5. Cover Up: Try to keep painful joints covered with a sleeve or wrap. Keeping them warm helps reduce pain and increases mobility. Using a muscle relaxant gel on the aching joints and then covering up has been seen to be very helpful.
6. Use hot packs: Hot packs/ hot baths/steam helps to soothe the painful joints. Heat stimulates blood flow, which brings healing nutrients to the affected area and inhibits the pain messages being sent to the brain.
7. Take medication: With a persistent joint pain, consult your doctor for painkillers. Using muscle relaxant gel also helps ease the joint pains.
These lifestyle changes would help in breaking and preventing young and elderly people to fall in the winter-joint-pain trap. Stay active, Stay healthy.