Have you ever heard someone with arthritis or achy joints say they can predict rain or a cold snap better than the local weatherman? Or maybe their back pain increases as the temperature drops? As temperatures dip in winter, many people experience increasing joint pain and especially back pain.
A 2007 Tufts University study, for example, concluded that 10-degree drops in ambient temperature were linked to incremental increases in arthritic pain. Even The Weather Channel devotes a page of its Healthy Living Maps section to a daily Aches and Pains Index.
What can you do as the temperature dips this season? Before you reach for pain medication, consider these tips:
- Move. Maintain a consistent exercise plan and keep your blood flowing.
- Hydrate. Drink plenty of water and keep your body hydrated. Water cushions and lubricates your joints, keeps your skin cells full, delivers nutrients, and protects the intestinal tract lining from damage by enzymes that digest food.
- Sleep. Getting 8 hours of sleep is not a myth. Your body needs rest in order to perform its best. Sleep also decreases inflammation which causes pain.
- Avoid stress. The winter holidays are actually considered more stressful than joyous by many. Do what you can to relax and manage your emotional health.
- Eat your veggies. Avoid 0foods that sabotage your immune system like those full of sugar. Eat a balanced diet as often as possible. Your body is naturally built to take care of itself if properly maintained.
- Keep warm. Treat your pain with heat. Heat application allows the soft tissues to stretch around the spine, including muscles, connective tissue, and adhesions. Consequently, with heat therapy, there will be a decrease in stiffness with an increase in flexibility and overall feeling of comfort. Flexibility is very important for a healthy back.
If you try these six tips and still have back pain, please call our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Fayaz.