When temperatures drop during the winter months, this can lead to joint pain, especially if you have osteoarthritis or another condition that causes joint inflammation. Although this discomfort can make it difficult for you to perform routine tasks and enjoy your usual activities, you can take steps to minimise pain and stiffness. Keep the following tips on pain relief in mind this winter.
Joint pain might cause you to avoid physical activity, but doing so can make your condition worse. Staying physically active on a regular basis helps your joints stay flexible, which can relieve pain and stiffness. Aim to get around 30 minutes of physical activity per day, even if that just means going for a walk rather than coming up with a more complex exercise routine. If it's too cold to go out, you can work out by doing stretches in your home.
Eat Healthy Fats
Include more foods that have omega-3 fatty acids in your diet this winter to relieve joint pain. Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that have been shown to reduce inflammation, which can help your joints feel better. Foods that are high in these fats include salmon, sardines, walnuts, spinach and flaxseed.
Add More Vitamins
Vitamins C and D are nutrients that can help ease joint pain and stiffness. Vitamin C helps reduce cartilage loss, which is associated with increased joint pain in those who have arthritis. Vitamin D keeps your bones in good condition, which lowers your risk of having joint pain. Your body makes vitamin D when you're exposed to sunlight, but you can also get it in fortified foods and supplements. For vitamin C, eat foods such as citrus fruits and tomatoes.
Dress in Layers
Wearing layers of clothing when you have to go outdoors can help prevent joint pain from getting worse. Staying warm by wearing gloves, leggings or long-johns, and other layers helps protect your joints from the cold, which lowers your risk of developing severe stiffness and discomfort.
Take pain relief medication
If dietary changes and exercise do not provide sufficient relief, pain relief medication can be taken. Anti-inflammatory drugs, also referred to as NSAIDs, can be effective at relieving inflamed joints. One treatment which is particularly effective for arthritis is Naproxen - An anti-inflammatory drug which is often used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
While codeine might be effective for pain, it doesn't reduce inflammation, which is commonly associated with arthritis. This type of medication is used for easing mild or moderate pain in the short term, such as in the case of a flare-up, but is not an effective long term treatment.
If you are unsure about which medicines would be effective at treating your joint pain, speak to your doctor.