During the cold and dry winter months, more people complain about body aches and pains. What should we do if our bodies feel more pain when the temperatures dip lower?
“Oftentimes when weather changes, people’s injuries or joints tend to ache a little bit more,” says Linda Scholl, physical therapist at the University of Utah Orthopedic Center. “If they happen to have any precursor to arthritis or already have arthritis, that’s when we hear a lot of people complain that their joints are stiff, and that they tend to have more pain when they first start moving. Oftentimes, that’s pretty typical. Usually, when we’re a little older or have more injury under our belt, we’ll feel it a little bit more.”
A change in the weather will not cause arthritis pain, but it can make the symptoms more noticeable. “When we are cold our body restricts how much blood it sends around extremities, like our hands and feet, so that it can focus on supplying vital organs, like the heart and lungs. This makes the soft tissues around the joints less pliable, so joints can feel tight, stiff and uncomfortable,” says physiotherapist, Jan Vickery, AKA PPP Healthcare.
So how can someone alleviate winter aches and pains? Turns out keeping active and moving is a great way to stay limber and pain-free.
“Pain is a protective mechanism to stop you from causing further damage but pain doesn’t always mean you should dive for the duvet and quit exercising altogether,” says Vickery. Vickery’s top tips for preventing aches and pains include:
- Remaining active is vital. Keeping moving will help keep your joints mobile and your muscles strong, which can reduce pain and help you stay independent.
- Don’t let cold weather put you off from normal physical activities and errands – wrap up warm (hat, gloves, scarf etc.) and wear appropriate footwear to prevent you from slipping if it’s wet or icy. It’s a good idea to wear layers in cold weather, so that you can peel them off as you warm up.
- If you’re new to exercise, don’t overdo it. Slowly build the amount you do. If you can’t manage 30 minutes, break it up into 10-minute chunks.”
When people experience increased muscle and joint pain during the winter, doctors and pharmacists often recommend topical analgesics to help provide relief for their symptoms. OTC Topical analgesic products are available in a variety of formulations, including gels, creams, sprays, and patches. For more information on the full topical analgesic line from Salonpas, visit https://us.hisamitsu/pain-relief-products.