Just because winter has hit doesn’t mean that you have to stiffen and become immobile. Living with consistent pain, whether it’s because of arthritis or past injuries, is difficult in all weather, but the cold makes it particularly challenging. Well, here is our gift to you this winter season… tips to make it hurt a little bit less.
Is Pain Ever a Good Thing?
Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. It’s a completely aggravating mode of communication, but it works. Imagine an ankle sprain. The area around the injury swells, and it hurts more than you
think it should. It swells and hurts so that you don’t do any excess movement that can exacerbate the injury. Pain can prevent further damage.
Arthritic pain however, can be a poor motivator. A sprain will heal, but arthritic pain is consistent and, in many cases, constant. Being active is essential and can reduce the pain.
We Like to Move It, Move It
The more you move, the more mobility you maintain in your joints. You will lose flexibility in your joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments the longer you stay immobile. If it’s cold, bundle up. It’s important to stay warm as cold joints tend to stiffen. Wear gloves, a hat, a scarf, and multiple layers. Multiple layers will allow you to stay warm, but give you the flexibility to remove layers as you warm up.
As far as what kind of movement you should do, choose something you enjoy doing (cycling, dancing, bowling, tai chi, walking, swimming, etc.). Ultimately though, any movement helps… even house cleaning (sorry).
Whatever activity you choose, remember to maintain good posture. Every activity can be done differently, so think about which positions put the least strain on your joints. Most importantly, listen to your body. If it hurts, don’t push it. A slight twinge of pain one day can be something much more the next day.
Don’t Psych Yourself Out
We’ve given you some good tips on how to keep from turning into Frosty physically, but there are mental and emotional effects to living with pain.
Many people get depressed during the winter months regardless, but when the gloomy feelings are combined with pain, it can be very discouraging. It is important to maintain a level of activity to counteract both the physically stiffness and emotional depression. Endorphins are a natural mood booster, and your body knows how to use them.