While winter can be a wonderful time of year with decorative twinkle lights, hot chocolate by the fire, and family gatherings, for some people with chronic pain, it can be a dreaded time of year.
Many people express that their chronic pain conditions get worse as the weather gets colder. If you’re in this camp, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, one study revealed that a whopping 92% of patients with chronic pain felt that their symptoms were exacerbated when the weather was cold.
What does science have to say about this? Well, it’s a bit of a mixed bag, but there are some popular theories from doctors and researchers that could explain the apparent connection:
- Colder temperatures can lead to less blood circulating to our extremities, which can lead to pain in our feet and hands.
Changes in barometric pressure can cause muscles, tendons, and bodily tissues to expand, which can cause pain in the joints.
- Many people decrease their overall physical activity in the colder months, which can account for some stiffness and soreness.
Regardless of the cause, the bottom line is, it hurts! We want to help you feel better during these cold, winter months so that you can enjoy time with your loved ones.
Here are four ways to prevent or reduce those uncomfortable cold weather pains this winter.
Stay hydrated and avoid caffeine
Sipping on a warm drink is a great way to warm up your body, however, it’s recommended to stay away from caffeine if you’re experiencing chronic pain. Consuming caffeine can cause your blood vessels to temporarily narrow, which restricts blood flow to your extremities. This has the potential to lead to increased nerve pain, which nobody wants! Thankfully, there are many delicious alternatives to that cup of coffee that will actually support your body, rather than hinder it.
Also, don’t forget to drink enough water or other water-rich beverages! It’s easy to forget to hydrate when the weather is colder, but it’s especially important if you experience pain flare-ups when the temperatures dip. Water helps keep your body balanced and flowing, and helps lubricate your joints.
When it’s really cold outside, you probably just feel like snuggling up with a cozy blanket in front of the fire, right? Who doesn’t! It’s very important, however, to stay active in the colder winter months, especially if you’re dealing with chronic pain. Taking part in light cardio can warm up your muscles and promote good circulation, which can help ward off cold weather-induced neuropathy. There’s no need to go crazy—a gentle yoga session, a walk around your neighborhood or in nature, a quick elliptical session, or light swim in a heated pool will all help immensely.
It’s time to break out the winter essentials: a warm coat, hat, scarf, gloves, and thick socks. Properly dressing when you go outside in cold weather will help you maintain your body heat which, in turn, will help your body maintain good blood flow and prevent muscle stiffness and nerve pain. Pay special attention to bundling up your feet and hands, as they are usually affected the most. Try using Aromalief Compression Gloves or Workvie Copper Compression Gloves either in the house or during your outings. These gentle compression gloves are perfect for keeping your hands nice and toasty and to reduce pain made worse by the cold.
Check your Vitamin D level
During these cold, dark months, you’re more vulnerable to developing a Vitamin D deficiency, particularly if you live in an area that doesn’t get much sunlight in the winter.
A 2010 study in Nutrition Journal discovered that 42 percent of U.S. adults were deficient in Vitamin D. That’s almost half of the people in America!
Vitamin D deficiency can cause a number of health issues including muscle, bone, and joint pain. It’s easy to test your level—just ask your family doctor to give you a blood test at your next visit. If it’s determined your level is low, you can take an inexpensive Vitamin D supplement daily. You can also make it a point to get out in the sunlight when it’s available.
Don’t let the winter months bring you down
We know that winter can be hard when you have chronic pain, but we hope that these suggestions make these cold days a little bit warmer and less painful.
Get some light exercise, bundle up, stay hydrated, and spend some time in the sun! If you follow these simple tips, you’ll be feeling a bit better in no time.
It is always important to ask your doctor before using these or any other creams. Even though products don’t require a prescription, it is still important to get their medical opinion.
Aromalief® is a brand of topical pain relievers made in Florida for women with chronic pain by women. It is 97% Naturally-derived, Vegan, and Cruelty-Free.
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This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Please consult a medical professional prior to using this or any other product for pain relief.