Winter brings with it a plethora of ailments and uncomfortable side effects. Perhaps one of the most irritating for some is the joint pain we experience in the colder months. There are a multitude of theories on the table for why this is so. In addition to the reduced sunlight—that means less vitamin D—doctors agree that our body naturally restricts blood flow peripherally to keep our torso, and the areas adjourning our heart, warmer. Hence, the joints get colder and more inflexible. Consequent to the drop in pressure, our tissues around the joints, particularly those around the knee, swell up and give rise to inflammation and pain.
Despite all of this, there are a number of quick-fixes you can try at home to alleviate this discomfort.
Regular Exercise in the Winters is a Must
This is so very important, because exercise stimulates the blood flow around the joints, in particular the knees, and so knocks out the stiffness. Go for low impact sports, like cycling or swimming in an indoor pool. You want to avoid running on hard surfaces, this would only jar your knees and result in more pain. If you’re a member at a gym, opt for the elliptical over the treadmill for the same reason.
Make Sure You’re Getting the Right Nutrients at Home
Your winter diet should be rich in Calcium, as well as Vitamins K, D and C. Consider a meal plan rich in fish, citrus fruits, milk, cabbage and spinach would be a safe bet. These essential vitamins and minerals help keep your bones healthy and cartilage strong. An alternative for Vitamin D is spending more time in the sun, thereby facilitating your body’s natural Vitamin D producing factory. We said fish, because the omega-3-fatty acids they contain are anti-inflammatory. Chia seeds accomplish the same.
Take Warm Baths with Epsom Salt
Another age-old home remedy is taking warm baths with Epsom salt. Add two cups of this wonder-product and let it just soak into your body. You’ll find that the magnesium and sulfates get absorbed quickly, and provide immediate relief. These minerals are also ant-inflammatory. It’s a bit of a luxury, but it’s worth it. And besides, who doesn’t like a hot, steaming bath on a cold, wintery day!
Massage to Relieve Joint Pain
Don’t rule massage therapy from a professional masseuse. It can work wonders and calming down the swelling and providing relief.
Make Full Use of Hot and Cold Ice Packs
For maximum efficacy, use the hot pack for about the 15-20 minutes. The heat increases the blood flow to the affected area, and with the blood comes your body’s natural anti-inflammatory mediators and pain killers. Immediate after the cold pack, follow up with cold pack for the same amount of time. Ice has been proven by physicians to slow down the swelling and numb the pain.
Comfrey (Symphytum Officinale) for Joint Pain
Comfrey (symphytum officinale), is a classic home remedy. Just mash it up, apply the salve inside a strip of cloth and wrap it around the joint. It works wonders, which is why it’s been sued for centuries.
It must be said that most health practitioners are of the opinion that the cold goes a long way in exacerbating pre-existing joint problems, so regardless of these home remedies—which are only really a short-term fix—you really should go see a doctor.
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