Five Ways to Weather Seasonal Arthritic Pain
Arthritis can make you feel like you have a built-in barometer in your body that lets you know – quite painfully – when bad weather is brewing. It’s probably a talent you’d gladly trade in, but the good news is that there are steps you can take to manage your weather-triggered arthritic pain.
With the cooler, wet weather approaching, now is a perfect time to adopt habits that can keep weather-related arthritic pain at bay. We checked in with Manpreet Tiwana, MD, a rheumatologist with Shore Physicians Group’s Bethel Road office in Somers Point, who offers this advice for getting through bouts of bad weather:
- Stay Active: You might be worried that exercise will exacerbate your arthritis and joint pain, but it is actually one of the most important steps you can take to reduce pain. Exercise helps because it helps reduce the swelling. The best exercises for people with arthritis are water-based activities, like swimming and aqua aerobics, and non-weight-bearing exercises like riding a bike. Joining a fitness center with an indoor pool can help you develop a consistent routine. “It’s important to make exercise a part of your everyday life to avoid deconditioning and maintain good muscle and joint health,” says Dr. Tiwana. “If you need help, talk to your doctor about finding a physical therapist or fitness trainer who can help you find the right exercises and a consistent routine that works for you.”
- Watch Your Weight: “Excess weight on joints can increase discomfort, especially in weight bearing joints like the ankles, knees and hips,” Dr. Tiwana says. Try to also incorporate more anti-inflammatory foods that contain omega-3s, like salmon, mackerel, anchovies and walnuts. If you need help managing your weight, Shore offers an outpatient nutrition counseling program, which is covered by most insurance plans.
- Reduce Stress: Stress can worsen pain related to arthritis. “If you find you are often stressed, consider participating in activities like yoga, Pilates and meditation. These are great for overall wellbeing and controlling your discomfort.”
- Stay Hydrated: Another way to improve your arthritic pain is to simply increase your intake of water. The recommended rule is 64 oz. of water in a day. You may need even more when you are active or in hot weather. “Drinking enough water each day is not just beneficial for our overall health and wellbeing, but it also helps with joint pain. Certain inflammatory types of arthritis, like gout, are more likely to occur when you are dehydrated. Avoid drinking sugary drinks, as they dehydrate you. Not only that, sugar itself has an inflammatory potential, so it can actually trigger joint pain.”
- Rest after Activity: Make sure you give your body ample time to rest after activities and at the end of the day. “Get a good night’s sleep, try a relaxing warm bath, or even a light massage. These are very helpful for reviving your body and mind,” says Dr. Tiwana.
By following the recommendations above, you can better manage your weather-related arthritic pain. However, if you need help with lifestyle changes, consider seeking help from the appropriate professionals. If you suspect you may have arthritis but have not yet been diagnosed, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a rheumatologist. Rheumatologists like Dr. Tiwana specialize in arthritis and diseases of the muscles, bones and joints and they can develop a treatment plan to help you manage your joint pain.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Tiwana, contact 609-365-6200. To learn more about Shore Physicians Group’s Rheumatology Division, visit https://www.shorephysiciansgroup.com/shore-physicians-group-specialties/rheumatology/