Joint pain can be the result of different factors such as inappropriate activity, injury, overloading. It can be triggered by a simple movement and the truth is that cold weather affects joint pain. So, next time a friend tells you that they can predict rain, trust them that they are not joking.
Knee pain is one of the most common complaints among people suffering from joint problems and quite often the reason for that is osteoarthritis. The level of pain differs and the condition gets worse in cold weather. Therefore, people are looking for ways to relieve the pain and continue being active regardless of the temperatures.
How can you relieve joint pain?
There are several natural ways to reduce joint pain, which are quite efficient in cold weather. You can choose those that best fit your daily regime and combine them in such a way that they have a long-term positive effect on your knees, body, and health as a whole.
Excess weight can be a significant factor in causing joint pain. It puts more pressure on joints, especially on the knees, hips, and feet and thus increases the discomfort you feel. By reducing your weight, you decrease the stress on the joints and that makes a significant difference. In addition to reducing the knee pain, a weight reduction will improve your mobility, prevent future damage to your joints, and improve your overall health.
It is important to lose weight the right way, so it is a good idea to consult a nutritionist, for example, or a training expert, who can recommend the right approach based on your body type and in accordance with the joint problem you have.
Being active and exercising is a key factor to staying in good shape. It has many positives in addition to losing weight and one of them is that proper exercise and stretching can relieve joint pain and increase their flexibility and strength.
It is important to choose the right type of exercise that improve your physical function without adding stress to the joint. Running and walking are not recommended in case of knee pain as they can be damaging unless done under control and with supportive knee braces, for example. Choose sports that are good for your joints such as swimming, water aerobics, yoga, horse riding.
As cold weather may not be tempting you to exercise and given the fact that it increases joint pain, you can look for an indoor training plan. A good way to stay active without adding too much pressure on the joints is to use the treadmill.
Note that if you are experiencing great discomfort or too much joint pain, it may be a good idea to consult a doctor and see what they will recommend about your exercise regime.
Dress warm and in layers
Whenever you go outside, it is important to dress warmly and in layers. Thus, you will have proper protection against the cold. If you add extra layers over knees and legs, you will keep them warm, which has a positive effect on joint pain.
Dressing in layers gives you the option to control the level of warmth and comfort, especially when temperatures fluctuate significantly throughout the day.
Drinking more water, especially in a drier climate is a must. Staying hydrated helps your body function better and stay active. According to a study published in Experimental Physiology, being even mildly dehydrated makes you more susceptible to pain.
Drinking enough water daily has many positive effects on your health and some of the indirect benefits turn out to be reducing pain sensitivity.
Hot and cold treatment
Many health practitioners recommend hot and cold treatment to alleviate joint pain. These types of treatments are quite efficient in case you are suffering from arthritis symptoms. While you may not be quite willing to opt for cold compresses in winter, it is worth trying. Some people feel better after a cold treatment, while others prefer the hot option. Here are the benefits of each treatment:
- Cold treatment should be your option if you want to reduce joint pain caused by inflammation and/or swelling. You can make a cold compress by wrapping an ice pack or some frozen vegetables in a towel and applying them to the painful joints. You shall sense immediate pain relief. Note that you shall not overdue cold treatment – keep the compress for no longer than 15 minutes. Take a break of 30 minutes or more before you reapply it.
- Hot treatment generally helps eliminate stiffness in your joint, relaxes your muscles, and stimulates blood flow. A long warm shower or bath can reduce joint pain significantly. Swimming in a hot pool, for example, is a great way to combine both exercise and heat treatment for your joints. You can also put the affected area in hot water and massage it gently to activate blood flow and reduce pain. At night, you can use an electric blanket or a moist heating pad to keep your joints warm and loose. You can also apply a microwaveable hot pack to the problem zone to get quick relief. Just be careful and don’t overhear them as your skin may burn. A hot tub or a spa treatment will help soothe joint pain and is a great way to spend a cold day. Just don’t go outside immediately after a heat treatment, let your body temperature normalize first.
You need also to check if heat or cold treatment can have any adverse effects on your health provided that you have any other health condition. You can consult a physical therapist as well to recommend some more options.
Some alternative medical treatments such as acupuncture can be quite effective in relieving joint pain. The ancient Chinese technique is one of the oldest natural pain reliefs that is believed to help in such cases. Acupuncture is a form of treatment with thin needles that are inserted into specific points into your body. According to the World Health Organization, this treatment can help in more than 100 different conditions.
The main goal of acupuncture is to correct the imbalance of your energy. The thin needles stimulate energy along specific pathways in your body and thus lower chronic pain, especially in the back. Acupuncture also lowers the levels of inflammation in your body. Because of these reasons, it is thought that the treatment also has a positive effect on joint pain and arthritis.
If you are not afraid of needles and willing to explore this non-traditional treatment, make sure to contact a licensed and certified acupuncturist. You can ask your doctor to recommend a practitioner in your area.
Explore magnet therapy
Magnet therapy is used to boost overall health and is quite popular for treating certain conditions. Magnets are considered a good option for treating different pain, especially in the back and feet. While there is no clear scientific research on the way they can alleviate joint pain or affect arthritis as a whole, people report relief after magnet therapy.
You can explore how it works by wearing low-intensity static magnets. You can purchase them in the form of bracelets, necklaces, pads or disks.
Note that you should not wear magnets in case you have a pacemaker, use an insulin pump or you are pregnant.
Relax with aromatherapy
Relaxing is a great way to reduce your stress levels and improve your overall condition. It is known that stress is directly related to inflammations – it releases chemicals affecting the immune system that cause inflammation and hence joint pain. Therefore, reducing your stress levels will help you alleviate pain.
It is true that aromatherapy will not have a direct effect on your inflammation but will boost your mood and help you cope with the pain. If you want to include essential oils in your massage, make sure to test them first since some of them can cause irritation and damage your skin.
Get a massage
The massage is a natural remedy that is applied for thousands of years and has both soothing and therapeutic benefits. A proper massage can help relieve discomfort in different areas of the body and according to the Arthritis Foundation it can reduce pain and stiffness and improve motion of arthritic joints.
There are many different types of massages but it is better to work with a professional therapist experienced in massaging people with arthritis and joint pain. You can visit a physical therapist whenever you need and also work along with them to teach yourself certain self-massaging techniques that can help you alleviate pain.
You can combine the massage with aromatherapy or heat treatment, as mentioned above, in order to achieve better results.
Meditation is an excellent way to reduce stress and improve your overall condition no matter where you are. You do not need any specific equipment or superpowers in order to achieve a state of mindfulness meditation. The technique is recommended for people with painful joints since with the reduction of stress levels, it will decrease inflammation and swelling, which will lead to alleviation of pain.
Meditation can be a simple practice that includes focusing on your breathing. Just inhale and exhale and let your mind wander for several minutes.
According to research conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, meditation is beneficial mostly to people suffering from depression and arthritis.
Try natural supplements and mixtures
Changing your diet may have a direct effect on your joints and help reduce the pain you are suffering from. Certain natural mixtures, in the form of tea, supplements or spices can alleviate and even prevent joint pain.
You can consider adding the following to your diet:
- Omega-3 fatty acids as they reduce joint stiffness and pain
- Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) can be found in the seeds of borage, hemp, black currants, evening primrose is also helpful in case of painful joints
- Vitamin D helps prevent osteoporosis and lower levels of it may make you more sensitive to joint pain
- Turmeric is an Indian spice that contains curcumin. The substance reduces inflammation and hence helps to alleviate joint pain
- Herbal supplements that can be found on the market also help reduce the symptoms of arthritis and joint pain. You can opt for herbs such as ginkgo, boswellia, bromelian, stinging nettle, thunder god vine, or devil’s claw.
Be sure to consult your doctor prior to taking any of those supplements as they may pose a risk health should you have any other conditions. In addition to that, always start with a small dose to see your body’s reaction to adding something new to the diet.
Apply topical creams
Even though topical creams, gels, and patches may not be an entirely natural remedy, they are also an excellent alternative to reduce joint pain. Note, that most of the rubbing products contain capsaicin, the element which makes chili peppers hot. They usually warm up the area, so do not use topical creams and gels along with heating pads as this may lead to burning your skin.
Take a good rest
Last but not least, it is a good idea to rest well in order to alleviate joint pain. Relaxation helps your body repair itself naturally by restoring the energy. Quite often, the lack of movement of the affected area can be the key to its recovery, at least for the time being.
In case you feel sharp pain or it last for too long, it might be necessary to immobilize the joint using a splint or brace. Make sure to seek medical help in such cases and choose the right brace for your condition. Your doctor will recommend the type of knee support you need and that will work for your condition and lifestyle.
No matter which or how many of the natural remedies listed above you are going to apply, always consult your doctor prior to including them to your daily routine. You can also consider some of our knee support braces or compression socks that you can find on our website as a way of alleviating pain and staying active.