Do you experience joint pains during winter? While common for some people, the exact nature of cold-induced joint pain is uncertain but we’ve noticed that the symptoms often worsen.
It could be that muscles, ligaments and joints just get stiffer with lower temperatures, as the human body will conserve more heat, more blood would be circulated to the heart and lungs. So when this happens, muscles and blood vessels in the arms, shoulders, knees and other joints will contract, leading to pain. Even muscles lose their range of motion.
Reasons for Joint Pains during Winter
- The pain receptors become more sensitive during winter.
- The drop in atmospheric pressure causes joint tissues to swell, building tension between joints, causing pain.
- Increase in muscle spasms in colder temperatures also worsens the pain and stiffness in joints.
- The cold causes fine blood capillaries in the joints and extremities, like fingers and toes, to shrink or contract, amplifying the pain.
- Less sunlight during winters means lower vitamin D levels which leads to weakened bones and joints.
Remedies for Relief
- Dress Warm: Keep yourselves, especially your feet warm. Wear two or three pairs of thin clothing instead of one pair of heavy warm clothes to conserve body heat.
- Stay Active: Exercising is another way to get rid of all joint and muscle stiffness during winter time without overdoing it. Because this will improve blood circulation to your extremities and provide warmth and the necessary micronutrients to relieve pain.
- Localized Heating: Use an electric heating pad, hot water bag or an electric blanket to keep yourself warm while resting or sleeping.
- Warm baths: Swimming in a heated pool is great exercise and it soothes your joints. You can also get great relief from warm water or steam bath. Avoid piping hot water.
- Vitamin D: is essential for bone health. Lack of it can cause body aches. This deficiency may be due to lack of exposure to sunlight. Spending some time under the sun is a great way to replenish Vitamin D and get rid of joint aches. Food sources for Vitamin D include fatty fish, cheese, egg yolk, milk, nuts and seeds, soya products, and legumes. To enable absorption of Vitamin D from food or sunlight, include magnesium rich foods like entire green leafy vegetables (which are abundant in winters), pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, avocado and bananas etc.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: are anti-inflammatory and highly beneficial in reducing inflammation in joints. So include avocados, flaxseeds, walnuts and fish in your diet. You’ll also find good omega-3 in flax seeds, walnuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds as well.
A Quick Home Remedy
A mixture of turmeric, fenugreek/methi seeds and ginger has a positive impact on reducing joint pains and arthritis because of the anti-inflammatory properties.
- Ginger powder – 20 gm
- Methi seeds – 50 gm
- Turmeric powder – 50 gm
How to have: Take half or one tablespoon in the morning, preferably on an empty stomach for wonderful results.
Enjoy winter while following the above tips, for joint pains during winter. If you face extreme discomfort in your joints, do consult a doctor for Bone and Joint health.