If you suffer from arthritis, whether osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, you probably dread the winter season and the increased pain and stiffness it brings. This year may seem particularly difficult because you’ve likely been cooped up for months leading up to winter while doing your part to stay safe during the pandemic.
But there’s hope for your arthritis pain this winter and all year long.
Dr. Damon Christian Kimes at Roswell Pain and Weight Loss Specialists in Roswell, Georgia, offers effective pain-relief treatments for arthritis sufferers that can help you reclaim your movement and freedom long term.
Because he knows that the cold weather can exacerbate your arthritis pain, Dr. Kimes also encourages our arthritic patients to follow these simple tips you can incorporate into your life every day to keep the winter aches, pain, and stiffness to a minimum.
One of the main reasons your arthritis pain increases in the winter is that when your body gets cold, it goes into survival mode and diverts your blood from outer extremities to your vital organs. That’s great news for your heart, lungs, and kidneys, but not so great for your joints.
As blood flow decreases, your joints become more stiff and painful, so it’s important to keep your hands and feet covered and cozy. It’s also important to wear a hat or hood when you’re outdoors, because keeping your head warm helps you maintain inner warmth.
Exercise is the key to keeping arthritis pain at bay all year long, but it can get tricky in the winter because many outdoor activities you typically enjoy aren’t options. But don’t let that stop you. There are plenty of indoor activities you can do to take the place of your regular alfresco routine.
For instance, you can use a treadmill or stationary bike to mimic your outings in the park. If you don’t have access to that equipment, you can walk indoors, use the stairs, or jog in place. Yoga is an excellent way to stay limber and pain-free, so follow along with a video or app to keep you moving.
If you’re overweight, now is a great time to resolve to lose it, because excess weight makes your arthritis worse. Being overweight adds extra stress to your painful joints and promotes inflammation, which also ups your pain and stiffness.
Dr. Kimes specializes in helping patients find their healthy weight under his expert supervision. Through proper nutrition, vitamin B12 and lipotropic injections, and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, he can help you lose weight and improve your arthritis symptoms and your overall health.
But even if you’re not overweight, eating well is critical to tamping down your arthritis pain. In addition to eating lots of vegetables and fruit, add foods that fight inflammation, like walnuts, green tea, salmon, and turmeric.
Also, studies show that vitamin D may help with cartilage regeneration, so taking a supplement (along with calcium, which your body needs to absorb vitamin D) gets you through the darker winter days when you can’t soak in the sunshine.
Staying well-hydrated improves your joint health, so make sure you drink plenty of water all day, every day. Water lubricates your joints and flushes out toxins, but in the winter months, we tend to neglect our water intake. Download an app or keep a tally on your desktop or fridge to keep track of how many glasses of water (or green tea) you drink to stay on track.
Despite your best efforts, sometimes an arthritis flare-up happens and can make you miserable for hours or days. Fortunately, over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin can quickly dull the aches and get you through a rough patch.
Topical creams and ointments also help by creating a cold or warm sensation that disrupts pain signals from your joints to your brain. These are temporary fixes, but they can help you overcome flare-ups that keep you from getting things done.
In addition to lifestyle changes and conservative treatments, Dr. Kimes also treats osteoarthritis with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. A type of regenerative medicine, PRP is a simple treatment performed right here in our office.
Dr. Kimes takes a small sample of blood from your arm (just like a normal blood draw for routine lab work) and spins it at high speed in a centrifuge. The process separates your blood into components and isolates the platelets that contain growth factors.
Once he has serum of these specialized proteins, he injects it into your arthritic joint, where it goes to work reducing inflammation and pain, and triggering a healing response, including new cell growth.
To learn more about arthritis pain management and whether PRP is right for you, contact us by phone or online to book a consultation with Dr. Kimes.