One of the main factors is a drop in barometric pressure, which often precedes a storm. The theory goes that a decrease in the air pressure can cause the tissues around the joints to swell, causing arthritic pain. There have been tests done using a balloon in a barometric chamber as a simulator. If the pressure outside drops, the air in the balloon expands. If the same happened in the area around an arthritic joint, the expansion or swelling could irritate the nerves, causing pain. However, the swelling occurs on such a small scale that this cannot be medically measured and proven.
Dr. Tamer Elbaz from Pain Physicians NY, offers four tips for combatting seasonal pain symptoms:
1. Get your move on!
Many people who have arthritis or other forms of pain say that they experience more pain in the winter. This could be attributed to the fact that they aren't able to get outside and exercise. Join a gym, or make an indoor exercise plan to reduce the amount of joint pain in the winter and throughout the rest of the year. Low-impact exercises can truly make a difference: try biking, light weight lifting, water aerobics, or even walking. Anything to get your move on for at least 30 minutes a day.
2. Pay attention to what you eat
Our food intake plays an important role. Eat foods that are rich in:
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Think salmon and nuts which curb inflammation.
- Vitamin K. Think Green! Foods like spinach, kale, cabbage, broccoli, herbs and other foods can soothe pain. Fun Fact: Did you know that Chili Powder, Curry, Paprika, and Cayenne also have Vitamin K?
- Vitamin C. Add to your diet juicy oranges, sweet red peppers and tomatoes, kiwis, and other Vitamin C-rich foods to stop cartilage loss (and the joint pain that occurs as a result). Fun Fact: Did you know that 1 kiwi has more vitamin C than an orange? Also, eat the skin for the highest vitamin C intake- it's actually really delicious when the kiwi is ripe.
- Turmeric. This spice is famous for its extensive use in South Asian cuisine and has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Whole Grains. Swap out refined grains with whole grains for anti-inflammatory benefits.
There are supplements that can help with joint pain, but always consult a physician because some may interact with certain prescriptions.
Vitamin D: In the summer the sun's rays trigger vitamin D synthesis in the skin. In the fall or winter months, you need to increase the amount of vitamin D in your diet, to make up for the lack of sun, and to reduce pain. Vitamin D will help keep your bones strong and prevent joint pain. Look for a supplement with 1,000 milligrams of D3.
Glucosamine sulfate has shown to slow the progression of damage to cartilage and to help repair such damage.
Chondroitin increases lubrication in your joints and reduces inflammation.
"A daily combination of 1,500 milligrams of glucosamine and 1,200 milligrams of chondroitin might help ease symptoms in people with moderate-to-severe joint pain," shares Dr. Elbaz.
4. Invest in a heating pad
In the cooler months, a heating pad will feel great on your stiff joints. It also will help to reduce the amount of pain. Be careful not to burn your skin. Never use the heating pad while sleeping.
5. Seek preventative medical treatment
"If seasonal pain is common for you, or if you are currently experiencing seasonal pain symptoms, consider medical treatment," says Dr. Tamer Elbaz who can be contacted at www.painphysiciansny.com.
For more information on Pain Physicians NY and to view their treatment options visit http://www.painphysiciansny.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Tamer Elbaz contact Tasha Mayberry at [email protected] or call 207.317.6099.
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