Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as arthritis, is a painful condition caused by a gradual loss of cartilage from the joints and in some people joint inflammation. Arthritis can affect almost every joint, but is most frequent in the hands, knees, hips and spine. Common symptoms include pain, stiffness, and difficulty moving the joint easily.
Arthritis is a condition that will gradually get worse over time which will affect the person’s movement and performance. Treatment can reduce the pain and slow down the progression of the condition, treatments include drug therapy and in some cases surgery.
As winter approaches many people feel that their Osteoarthritis pain will worsen with the colder climate. As noted by Freeman in the Daily Mail Australia Prof Conaghan says “many claim that arthritis gets worse when the atmospheric pressure falls, just before it rains. But scientific trials have failed to prove this. There is no evidence to show weather or climate has any effect on arthritis. OA occurs all over the world, in all types of climates”.
So before you sell up and move to a warmer climate because you can’t bear another Winter of pain, Dr. Vagg recommends you consider the other things that happen when the weather turns cool. Vagg suggests “a winter drop in mood is common for many people and low mood is known to be linked to higher levels of perceived pain”. He mentions that “shorter days and cool temperatures can also make us less inclined to be active, and immobility can also make arthritis pain worse. (Among other things, it reduces the flow of nutrients and oxygen to joints)”.
If you are one of those people who feel the colder weather increases the pain in your joints and want to enjoy the winter this year here are some tips to help you:
- Dress warmly and layer up
- Exercise inside and lose weight
- Let warm water comfort you – swimming in heated pools can sooth joints and is a great form of exercise
- Stay safe by picking solid and supportive shoes with good tread when going outdoors.
- Discuss acupuncture or massage with your physiotherapist.
- Hydrate and treat yourself with hot beverages that are soothing, comforting and warming.
By Mitchell Laurie & Duane Willemsen