Relieving joint pain in winter - triggers and solutions revealed
Why do you get joint pain in winter?
So far, science has been inconclusive when it comes to connecting changes in our body’s joint pains to cold weather. Research into the connection between arthritis pain in particular and cold weather is mixed. Some studies show no connection at all while others show some causal effect.
But while research may not support the theories (yet), there does remain many personal accounts and complaints of low level joint aches and pains worsening alongside cold weather, rain and low atmospheric pressure.
One theory of sudden joint pain causes considers that the changes in barometric pressure can cause the expansion and contraction of ligaments, tendons and cartilage within the joint causing an increase in discomfort and pain. (Dr Paul Jacob).
Another theory of what can cause joint pain suggests that the body will conserve heat in cold weather, sending more of the blood to the organs in the center of the body, like the heart or the lungs, leaving the blood vessels around the arms, legs and joints to constrict -- which can then cause pain and discomfort. (Armin Tehrany, M.D)
Tips on how to keep your joints warm and comfortable when it is cold
Regardless of what science will eventually prove or disprove, for now we know there is discomfort in our joints that needs alleviating. So the IHB team has scoured the internet, discovering the most recommended ways people keep their joints warm while in the throes of winter, or just plain old cold weather regardless of the season.
Use a wheat heat bag (of course!)
Placing the heat bag against the skin where you feel the pain conducts heat away from the bag and is absorbed into the body. This results in an increase in local soft tissue temperature up to a few centimetres deep. We have designed a range of heat bags suited to different parts of the body. Our small heat bag is especially suited for targeting joint pain by wrapping it around your wrist, knees and ankles.
Deep heat cream and gels
These are created with a range of chemical and natural ingredients. When applied topically to the affected area and massaged into the skin it causes the skin to “feel hot”. The brain will temporarily focus on that heat signal instead of the pain.
Layer up with light but warm clothing
Warm clothing isn't always about big, heavy, puffer jackets or oodies. Smarter layering means thinner, lighter articles of clothing made from warming fabrics. This helps keep the body warm without adding extra weight and also allows for easier mobility and flexibility in movement.
Wear compression socks and gloves
We tend to focus on covering up our bodies, leaving our feet and hands exposed to the elements. And yet it is typically our hands and feet that feel the cold first. There are a range of special gloves available for arthritis sufferers that help reduce swelling, increase mobility and improve circulation. Compression gloves like these can be therapeutic to symptoms of pain while keeping you warm. Similarly, compression socks are helpful in winter by improving blood flow while keeping you warm.
Enjoy the warmth of water
Hot shower or bath? Both are equally delightful and the typical go-to for a quick way to warm up and temporarily ease the body’s aches and pains.
Sleep with added warmth
Many like to sleep with a heat bag to help keep them cosy at night. Heated blankets and hot water bottles are also an obviously popular winter staple. As always, please use these products according to the manufacturer's instructions and with adult supervision so as to avoid any avoidable accidents or incidents.
Go to the gym, dance, walk, bike, hike, swim in a heated pool (ahhhh). Whatever physical activity you enjoy most - keep doing it.
Get a massage
Wait a moment, is massage really a legitimate method of relieving joint pain? Yes? OK if you all say so, then it must be so. Certainly massage is known to help with pain management especially if treated professionally and regularly.
Vitamin D has shown to help improve bone health and boost your immune system. Some sunny outdoor time is the best way to dose up.
Choose anti inflammatory foods
There are also foods that can help reduce pain and joint mobility concerns such as Omega-3 Fatty Acids, nuts and seeds, lentils and beans. This article identifies 10 foods that help reduce joint pain.
Obey your Doctor
Depending on the causes of your pain and your joint pain treatment, medication or focussed exercises may be prescribed so it is important to continue with your treatment.
Pain can have a devastating impact on the lives of those who live with it day in and day out. The IHEATB team are not experts on the array of conditions which affect the joints, bones and muscles of the human body causing pain and discomfort. If pain is a frequent concern for you then please connect and consult with a medical professional to get personalised advice and treatment.
But Inspirational Heat Bags are, and will always be, committed to producing a quality product that by all testimonial accounts (of heat bags in general) can help alleviate and provide short term relief for joint pain and discomfort. Combined with the other methods for keeping your joints warm in winter we hope you can enjoy this season pain free.
We would love to hear if any of the tips above help you in alleviating your joint pain this winter. If you would like to try our Small Heat Bag you can buy yours from our website here.