How to Ease the Aches and Pains of Cold Weather

Posted 4 years ago

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Winter is upon us again and most of the country is covered in layers of freezing snow. Some folks know winter is here because they can see the snow through their window or hear about it on the news, but some of us know winters is coming long before it arrives. We can predict the cold because our joints and body ache like the devil and old injuries that we barely remember come back to haunt us. Whether you have arthritis, sinusitis, fibromyalgia, carpel tunnel syndrome or just a bad knee from that fall you took off grandma's porch 30 years ago, winter can be a time to cringe in pain rather than binge on eggnog. Luckily, there are simple steps you can take to ease the aches of cold weather pain. It may sound like common sense, but it bears repeating. The best way to avoid cold-related aches and pains is to stay warm. Dress warmly, even when you're inside the house, and plug in that electric blanket and heater. You can also turn your house's heating system up or buy one of those snug new blanket-robes. When dressing to keep warm, you should also remember that several layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one overlarge jacket or sweater. By keeping your body warm, your joints won't stiffen up and hurt. Warm muscles and joints are a less likely to snap or spasm which can lead to new injuries and renewed pain. Another way to combat winter-related joint pain is to drink sufficient fluids to keep your body properly hydrated. Dehydration can cause muscle cramps, lethargy and general muscle soreness. Those over 65 should take particular care to drink enough as seniors are more affected by dehydration than others. Even better, you can drink a hot beverage such as decaffeinated tea to stay warm and hydrated at the same time When choosing your beverages, be careful to avoid caffeine. Restricted blood flow or poor circulation can bring on debilitating joint diseases including Reynaud's Phenomenon, where fingers and toes become numb and turn blue. Two of the many substances that cause blood to flow less freely are caffeine and nicotine. Reducing, or eliminating, your intake of both substances will reduce the chances of developing major joint pain. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea and most sodas and nicotine, in tobacco. Another way to keep your muscles and joints warm and flexible would be to plan, and stick to, a regular exercise routine. The advantages of exercising include increased joint mobility and muscle strength and the maintenance of a healthy level of bone density. If you don't usually exercise, then start slowly with a relatively mild routine before moving on to something more strenuous. Another option would be to become a member of the local YMCA or gym and take advantage of the exercise equipment and personal trainers that these places offer. The best treatment for any pain is prevention. If you suffer from joint, back or neck pain then regular visits to a chiropractor can do wonders to keep winter aches and pains at bay. Spinal manipulation and other chiropractic techniques may help by treating your specific conditions that are aggravated by the cold each year. Cold and humid weather has been scientifically proven to worsen the symptoms of several disorders and to aggravate old injuries. However, contrary to some beliefs, winter aches and pains are not something that you must "learn to live with." Your chiropractor can determine a course of treatment and make recommendations to ease the pain and may have your muscles feeling like Spring again.
Dr. Karen Kim is a Long Beach Chiropractor at Chiropractic Neurology Center in Southern California. She treats patients with seasonal ailments all year long to help them attain and maintain optimal health. Discover how a chiropractor can make a difference in your health online at

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