If you’ve ever experienced aches and pains during the cold-weather months, there are ways to prevent them.
During the winter, some people may experience negative effects on their bodies. Freezing temperatures and changes in atmospheric pressure can cause these problems.
The winter weather can exacerbate conditions that are not as troublesome in warmer months. This can cause debilitating aches and pains, particularly for those with arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
To prevent this, it’s important to know how to alleviate and improve joint pain and other aches.
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How to Help Prevent Cold Weather Pains
Stiffness, aches, and pains are often associated with changes in the weather. But simple actions like hydration, proper clothing, and stretching can help.
At UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, our experts can help identify the reason behind your aches and pains. They can work with you to develop a personalized program aimed at relieving or managing your symptoms.
To avoid increased cold-weather pain, try out these tips:
Try to stay warm.
Keeping your body warm is essential, so remember to layer up. Dressing in layers can help protect your skin and joints from exposure to the cold.
In general, muscles that are warmed up tend to stretch better. Stronger muscles help to control the activity-related forces we put on our joints. Both of these factors can help decrease the added stress our joints experience during the winter months due to cold temperatures and changes in activity levels.
Inactivity can lead to more stiffness and pain in the joints, so it’s important to stay active during the winter. Try to perform light aerobic activity for approximately 30 minutes each day. Also, be sure to warm up before working outside in the cold. Work to strengthen your body for the activities you plan to do.
Drink plenty of water.
Hydration is always important, but it’s especially important in the winter months. In the winter, dry air makes you feel dehydrated, tired, and achy. If you aren’t a fan of plain water, a warm cup of tea or a bowl of brothy soup are also great ways to get more hydration when it’s cold outside.
Proper Snow Shoveling Techniques
Along with aches and pains, winter can bring lots of snow —and shoveling! To help prevent muscle strain in your lower back and shoulders, follow these helpful tips:
- Lift smaller loads of snow rather than heavy shovelfuls.
- Bend your knees and lift with your legs rather than your back. Push rather than lift whenever possible.
- Use a shovel with a shaft that lets you keep your back straight. You want to allow your back to be in an upright posture so it can be optimally positioned to work.
- Position your midsection and move in the direction in which you are moving the snow. This will keep your lower back from twisting.
- Take frequent breaks when shoveling. Stand up straight and walk around periodically to extend the lower back.
- Backward bending exercises while standing can help offset the excessive forward bending that shoveling requires.
Learn more about how UPMC Rehabilitation Institute can help your wintertime aches and pains.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .
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About UPMC Rehabilitation Institute
The UPMC Rehabilitation Institute offers inpatient, outpatient, and transitional rehabilitation, as well as outpatient physician services so that care is available to meet the needs of our patients at each phase of the recovery process. Renowned physiatrists from the University of Pittsburgh Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, as well as highly trained physical, occupational, and speech therapists, provide individualized care in 12 inpatient units within acute care hospitals and over 80 outpatient locations close to home and work.