In the Pacific Northwest we’re buckling down for another 4 months of colder temps before we can finally enjoy summer’s warmth. As bothersome as it is to bundle up before heading out the door, it’s even more frustrating when the cold triggers joint pain. According to a poll by Healthy Living magazine in 2011, about 42% of readers blamed chilly temperatures for their hip and knee pain. There is good news to these winter blues though – prevention methods and remedies are readily available to ensure your joints survive the next months with less pain!
What’s Up With the Cold?
Cold weather doubles stress on your joints if they are not “warmed” up properly before use. The body uses lubrication just like a car to prevent friction. Synovial fluid at our body’s joints provides a slippery surface for bone ends so they don’t rub together and cartilage doesn’t wear away. As we age, the body is more conservative and joints must be stimulated by movement to produce lubrication. In cold weather, when we’re prone to move less our body isn’t triggered to produce the synovial fluid needed to adequately lubricate our joints.
Joint injuries and surgeries can also leave you more susceptible to cold weather pain. As weather changes, the small air cavities in joints can actually have a lower pressure than the barometric pressure outside. If the body doesn’t have adequate time to adjust – such as with an approaching storm or cold snap – these small spaces will be exposed to a severe pressure difference that ultimately causes pain in the surrounding tissue as it’s pushed either inward or outward.
What Can Be Done?
Solution 1: You Are What You Eat
Load up your plate with food that will curb inflammation and ease pain felt in your joints. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids will do just that. For main course at dinner turn to salmon and add nuts in to your daily snacking schedule. Also, vitamin C can halt the loss of cartilage that comes with arthritis – so turn to oranges, red peppers and tomatoes to further reduce joint pain.
Solution 2: Supplement Prevention
Dr. Beebe recommends increasing vitamin D supplements to 5,000 IU a day to keep bones strong and prevent associated joint pain. Use a supplement that includes D3 – the kind your body naturally creates from sunlight. Healthy Living also suggests “glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin may help nourish cartilage and increase lubrication in your joints.” A study funded by the National Institutes of Health found a combination of 1,500 milligrams of glucosamine and 1,200 milligrams of chondroitin work symbiotically to help ease moderate-to-severe joint pain.
Solution 3: Get a Move On It
As fall turns to winter and temperatures drop, many active people move less. Joints stiffen and we become a lot less flexible. Now that we know our joints must be stimulated to create more synovial fluid, the easiest solution is to move our joints to ensure they’re well lubricated. Spend 10 minutes warming up your joints by stretching and moving your body. Dr. Beebe recommends that before getting out of bed, stretch your fingers and toes, rotate your wrists and ankles, move your arms, and warm up your spine by twisting your core side to side.
For a more detailed analysis of your winter joint pain, don’t hesitate to call (503)620-1280 to meet with Dr. Beebe. Remember: a holistic approach, provided by chiropractic care can help you live a fuller, healthier life; regardless of genetic background or environmental surroundings!
Beebe Chiropractic & Wellness Center is located in Tigard, OR within the Portland Metro area. Dr. Daniel Beebe cares for patients with sports, work & auto injuries, neck pain & lower back pain, headaches & migraines, chronic pain, scoliosis and more. For more information visit BeebeChiro.com.