7 Natural Ways to Manage Arthritis During the Winter

Sunrise Senior Living  |  February 14, 2018

The winter months can be brutal for arthritis suffererswho add up to 50 million adults in the U.S. alone. As the temperature drops, people with this chronic health condition often report that their level of pain increases.

For some, prescription medication can help ease their symptoms, but others are reluctant to take it. Side effects of arthritis medications can include upset stomach, swelling in the feet, bone loss, increased appetite, and more.

The good news is there are some natural alternatives for relieving the pain and symptoms of arthritis.

7 Natural Ways to Manage Arthritis this Winter

  1. Keep moving: This one seems counterintuitive when every joint hurts, but exercise can help reduce the pain of arthritis. If icy walkways are keeping you from taking a daily walk outside, consider activities like chair yoga and swimming  to help keep joints limber.
  2. Alternate hot with cold: Alternating between ice packs and a heating pad placed on painful joints might also help you find relief. The ice can help with the swelling, and the heat may provide pain relief. Talk with your doctor about how often and for how long to use each one.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight: Keeping extra pounds off is important at any age, but even more so for older adults with arthritis. Every extra pound you carry around places an additional three to four pounds of pressure on your knees. Losing just five pounds can translate to as much as 15 to 20 pounds less pressure on your knees.
  4. Watch your diet: Food choices can make arthritis symptoms better or worse. Avoiding foods known for causing inflammation—such as refined carbohydrates and refined sugar—can prevent joints from becoming inflamed. Also, try adding inflammation-fighting foods to your diet to potentially help reduce swelling. Good choices to try might be berries, grapes, tomatoes, pineapple, fish, and nuts.
  5. Drink your tea: Green tea has many healing properties. Some believe it can help to block the chemicals in your body that cause inflammation. A few cups of hot green tea each day might be worth a try.
  6. Warm up joints: Seniors with arthritis report warming up joints often translates to lower levels of pain. In addition to alternating between a heating pad and ice packs, a hot bath or shower might reduce symptoms. Your local chapter of the Arthritis Association might also be able to help you connect with an aquatic therapy program at a fitness center near you.

Tools and Resources for Adults with Arthritis

We know arthritis can sometimes make even the smallest tasks more difficult. It might be painful to button your shirt or bend over to tie your shoes. That’s why we assembled a list of resources to help. Check out some arthritis-friendly products that can help with everything from opening jars to brushing your hair. 

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