As the weather gets colder you might notice those cricks and aches in your joints a bit more. According to Dr. Ben Schwartz arthritis is most prevalent in the low back and neck, and hips and knees. But hands, shoulders and toes are also prone to arthritis.
Look Out For Repetitive Stress
An injury to your joints from something like a car accident can lead to arthritis, but what about repetitive movements? Do you text constantly? The repetitive movements can lead to thumb arthritis. Constantly having your head down to look at your phone or laptop stresses the neck and predisposes you to arthritis. Or a movement such as running, especially on pavement, degrades the cartilage in your hips and knees. It can be small or large movements done repetitively that stress your joints – all leading to arthritis.
Reduce Risk Factors
Controlling your diet and maintaining a healthy weight will help reduce your risk factors. But having a movement rich life is key. When you move your joints in different ways you’re keeping them lubricated with synovial fluid. If you’ve got muscle weakness, gently strengthen your muscles because your joints carry more of the load when the muscles are weak and tire, leading to more impact on the joints.
Stretch and Move Daily
Begin each morning with stretch from head to toes to ward off the morning stiffness and get your joints lubricated! Do circles with your head in each direction, look over each shoulder, move shoulders forward, back, up and down. Continue on through your body moving each joint (elbows, wrists, fingers, waist, hips, knees ankles and toes) just to wake them up and get the lubrication going. It doesn’t take long and can feel nice. It’s a good idea to have a more prolonged stretch built into your schedule a few times a week – take up yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi. They all create joint space and will bring awareness to postural habits. They help with muscle relaxation, stress reduction and since you’re moving, nutrients and synovial fluid are released to your cartilage.
Apply Topical Creams
Topical creams provide relief in varying degrees and can be used in conjunction with your total pain relief plan. Here’s some to try
~Joint Mud – It’s made from 27 organic oils and natural ingredients. In an Independent Clinical Study Joint Mud reduced joint problems by an average of 74% within 18 minutes.
~Topercin – This healing cream combines natural biomedicines that stimulate the body’s natural healing system with homeopathic pain relief. It’s used for rapid soothing of pain and stiffness.
~Biofreeze – This cold pain relieving gel is used for temporary relief from minor aches & pains of sore muscles and joints. It’s roll-on applicator is good for rolling massage of larger muscles / joints.
~Australian Dream – It’s designed to enhance the body’s own natural response to pain by increasing blood flow to affected areas / joints.
These are some things you can focus on as you notice your arthritis more, especially in the cold weather. This isn’t a comprehensive list, as we didn’t discuss supports, ice and heat, but if you start here and decrease repetitive stress, eat well and keep your weight at a good point, try a topical cream when needed and most importantly move and stretch daily you’ll be reducing your risk factors and improve your comfort.