As you get older, you might notice that daily activities and small things like the weather begin to affect your joint function. For most adults, these minor pains or moments of discomfort will disappear shortly after they begin and it’s nothing more than a minor inconvenience. Unfortunately for senior citizens, cold weather can aggravate or exacerbate aches and pains that have already made life more difficult.
How Weather Affects Joints
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just temperature alone that causes pain to flare up during the winter months. According to the Cleveland Clinic, conditions like arthritis actually worse when the barometric pressure drops. When this happens, it can lead to temporary swelling in tissue which then pushes up against muscles and nerves, causing discomfort and pain.
Alleviating Joint Pain During Winter Months
If you or your loved one’s arthritis pain worsens during the winter months, there are some things you can do to help alleviate the pain.
One of the first things you want to look at when it comes to joint pain is the person’s weight. Extra weight can cause a variety of health complications, including putting pressure on already strained joints. Even a 10% weight loss can have a huge impact. Unfortunately, though, the winter months make it difficult to get exercise and holiday get-togethers can have the opposite effect.
Encourage your aging loved one to partake in low-impact exercises to help strengthen muscles and promote blood flow to the joints. Stretching is also important to help reduce swelling and prevent stiffness.
One of the main reasons for achy joints is lack of lubrication in the joints that keep the cartilage intact — dehydration can contribute to this. Seniors often become dehydrated without even knowing it, especially during the winter months. Just because it’s not hot out doesn’t mean you should stop hydrating.
There are some anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medications that can be taken to help reduce swelling during the winter months. There are also prescribed medications that can help reduce swelling, so contact your personal physician to see if they might be right for you. Other devices like joint flexors and athletic straps can also help cut back on swelling and reduce pain.
Keeping the body and joints warm can actually help reduce pain and inflammation. Doing so can be as simple as just adding a few more layers or using heat wraps or pads around the affected area. Direct heat has been shown to relax muscles and sooth pain. You can even take warm baths to relax muscles and reduce any pain that might be a result of arthritis or any other joint-related issues.
Assisted Living Can Help
If living on your own has become too much to handle, it might be time to consider moving to a community like Prairie View Assisted Living. Communities like this offer a level of care that is perfect for seniors who do not need the full-time medical care — like those who suffer from seasonal joint pain — but could still use assistance with activities of daily life.
Please contact us at Prairie View Assisted Living today if you have any questions or would like to schedule a visit. You can call (815) 335-1800 to speak with a member of our team or fill out the form below to tour our beautiful Winnebago, IL community.