How to Manage Arthritis Pain During the Winter

If you believe your joints are more accurate than your smartphone at telling you what the weather’s like, it’s not in your head. 

The Arthritis Foundation® even has a weather and arthritis index on its site that warns you if the temperature and weather conditions in your zip code are likely to trigger symptoms. 

No matter what type of arthritis you have — including psoriatic arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis — changes in barometric pressure that come with cold weather affect your joints. Cold winds and dampness don’t help either.

At the Rheumatology Center of New Jersey, our expert rheumatologists know how rough winter weather can be in the Flemington, Somerville, and Monroe areas that we service. They’ve put together a simple guide to help protect your joints this winter. 

Mimic a seven-layer cake

When it’s cold outside, don’t rely on an overcoat alone to keep your joints warm and toasty. If you wear a series of layers, you can trap warm air against your body so you stay warmer.

In addition to your clothing, add a couple of sweaters before you put on your overcoat. And don’t forget your limbs, digits, or head. A winter hat, scarf, and gloves protect those areas, too. 

If you have arthritis in your hands, you might also layer up by putting a pair of mittens over your gloves. You might feel a little silly, but your fingers will thank you.

Throw some snowballs

When you were a kid, almost no amount of foul weather could keep you indoors. Snow inspired you to make forts and snow folk and get into wicked snowball fights. Rain was an excuse to jump over puddles (and land in them, too).

Even though the weather outside looks dreary and cold, channel your inner kid to find fun ways to stay active, both indoors and out. Those layers you’re now piling on help you stay comfy as you take a long, brisk walk through your neighborhood.

If you really can’t stand the thought of being outdoors, or if you’re in the middle of a blizzard or torrential rainstorm, create an indoor routine for yourself. Let your house get the benefit of your quarantine by turning your chores into a workout or finally finishing some DIY projects that require elbow grease.

You can also walk up and down your stairs, dance up a storm in the living room, or play with your kids or grandkids. Buy some easy-to-use, joint-friendly gym equipment, such as a rebounder (mini-trampoline), resistance bands, and hand weights or kettlebells.

Internet and social media apps also abound with free, online workout routines. Find a few you love, then switch them out to keep yourself motivated. Try to build a routine that emphasizes the key areas of fitness, including cardiovascular health, strength, balance, and flexibility.

Get a flu shot

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or other forms of autoimmune arthritis, you’re at more risk than average for contracting the flu or other viruses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting a flu shot in October, but if you forgot, it’s not too late to protect yourself now.

If the above measures don’t help and you have a flare of arthritis pain — no matter what the weather — call our nearest location or request an appointment using our online tool

We offer both medication and regenerative therapies, such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, at our offices in Somerville, Flemington, and Monroe, New Jersey. You can also request a telemedicine consultation.

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