Young lady having back painArthritis is an extremely common condition in which a patient’s joints become inflamed and painful, affecting any joint from the hands and elbows to the hips, knees, and ankles. Arthritis can be a difficult condition to live with all year round, but for many patients, wintertime becomes especially troublesome, as stiff joints in low temperatures exacerbate their usual symptoms of chronic pain.

At OAA Orthopedic Specialists, we want our patients with arthritis to know there are measures they can take to feel comfortable all year round, even during those times when their symptoms may flare up the most.

Here are four ways to ease arthritis pain this chilly season:

Don’t Take On Chores Alone

If you live with arthritis, it’s important that you maintain activity in your life to keep your joints from becoming stiff. However, certain tasks – including some of the most common chores you may be performing during winter – may do more harm than good when it comes to your joints. High-impact activities, including snow shoveling and leaf raking, can actually cause unnecessary joint pain or even long-term damage by putting too much strain on your affected joint or joints. This winter season, you might consider reaching out to a friend, family member, or neighbor for assistance. It’s worth it to protect your body.

Practice Some Gentle Exercise

If you’re looking for ways to stay active without doing harm to your joints or causing a flare-up, try performing some low-impact exercises while staying warm inside. Practicing yoga(opens in a new tab) is an excellent way for those with arthritis to stay fit; starting out with simple, gentle steps, you can build strength and flexibility while avoiding any poses that put too much weight on your joints. If you’re someone whose arthritis affects their hands and fingers, gentle hand stretches are also a great way to improve your mobility while at home keeping nice and warm.

Use Warming Agents Indoors

It may sound obvious, but keeping warm is key for alleviating symptoms of an arthritis flare-up that are triggered by the cold, and that’s as true indoors as it is outdoors. If you’re experiencing stiff joints as a result of low temperatures, warming agents such as heating pads can be extremely helpful – just be sure not to use the pad directly on your skin. We recommend utilizing a barrier, such as a towel or blanket, to ensure that the temperature is appropriate and will not irritate or burn your skin. If you have access to an electric blanket, this can also be helpful in keeping warm, but be careful to store them safely(opens in a new tab) so they don’t become a hazard.

Keep Warm When Outside

Of course, you can’t stay inside forever, even during the winter chill. When you’re trying to avoid triggering your arthritis, it’s advisable to treat any outing as a potential moment for your aching joints to flare up. It’s easier to leave the house unprepared than you may think – even a quick trip to the mailbox or the car could potentially leave you with stiff joints and regret. When preparing to step outside, layering is key: first, you should have a pair of thermal undergarments under your regular clothes, and a hat and gloves to protect your extremities. If your arthritis is an obstacle to wearing gloves, mittens are a perfectly acceptable alternative.

The Best Pain Management | OOA

Living with arthritis can be a difficult journey, especially during the winter season. We understand the challenges of this condition and strive to provide our patients with effective strategies for managing their symptoms year-round. At OAA, the board-certified, fellowship-trained team at our Rheumatology Institute is equipped with a team of highly trained specialists who are dedicated to helping you live a full, active life despite your painful joints.

If you are struggling with arthritis pain and looking for pain relief, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with us. Our Pain Management team is proud to have won Morning Call’s Reader’s Choice Best Pain Management in 2021, so you can trust that you will receive top-notch care at OAA.

Take the first step towards a pain-free life and contact us today at (610) 973-6200 for more information or to schedule your appointment.  Don't let arthritis control your life any longer – reach out to OAA and start feeling better today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can arthritis be caused by a weakened immune system?

While genetics and age are often the main factors contributing to arthritis, there is evidence that a compromised immune system may also play a role in increasing one's risk of developing this condition.

Can physical therapy help relieve pain from arthritis?

Yes, your physical therapists can provide targeted exercises and techniques to address the specific symptoms and limitations caused by arthritis, helping to relieve pain and improve mobility.

Is it safe to exercise with arthritis?

Yes, exercise is important for managing arthritis pain and improving joint health. However, it's important to consult with a doctor or physical therapist before starting an exercise program to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Can high blood pressure worsen arthritis symptoms?

High blood pressure can increase inflammation in the body, which can aggravate arthritis symptoms and cause more pain. It is important to maintain a healthy blood pressure through lifestyle changes or medication if needed.

Is arthritis an autoimmune disease?

Yes, certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, are considered autoimmune diseases where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues in the body. This can lead to joint inflammation and pain.