Consider Acetaminophen Or Nsaids
Even if, like Snow, you prefer to treat your joint pain with lifestyle changes rather than medication, you may want to take an over-the-counter pain reliever when your joint pain seems to worsen with the weather. The ACR guidelines include a recommendation to use these over-the-counter pain relievers for osteoarthritis. However, Libman says that, “to avoid side effects, take the lowest dose for the shortest amount of time, and always check with your doctor first to make sure it is safe for you to take.
Applying Heat Vs Cold To An Arthritic Joint
Using heat and/or cold therapies on an arthritic joint is a simple, inexpensive alternative treatment that can help to alleviate pain, stiffness and swelling. Read:Alternative Treatments
Heat can relax muscles and help lubricate joints. Heat therapy may be used to relieve muscle and joint stiffness, help warm up joints before activity, or ease a muscle spasm.
Learn more: When and Why to Apply Cold to an Arthritic Joint
Alternating heat and cold. Some people alternate between heat and cold therapy. For example:
- A patient may be encouraged to use heat therapy to warm up a joint before physical therapy exercise and to use cold therapy after exercise.
- A person can use heat therapy in the morning to loosen up an osteoarthritic knee and use cold therapy to reduce swelling a few hours later. This process can be repeated throughout the day.
Cold therapy is recommended for certain types of arthritis that cause painful inflammation flares, such as gout and pseudogout. People with other types of arthritisincluding but not limited to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitismay benefit from both heat and cold therapy.
There are no universally accepted guidelines for when to use heat or cold therapy on osteoarthritic joints, and recommendations are mixed.1–6 People with osteoarthritis are advised to experiment with both heat and cold therapy to find what works best for them.7
How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated
The goals of rheumatoid arthritis treatment are to:
- Control a patient’s signs and symptoms.
- Prevent joint damage.
- Maintain the patients quality of life and ability to function.
Joint damage generally occurs within the first two years of diagnosis, so it is important to diagnose and treat rheumatoid arthritis in the window of opportunity to prevent long-term consequences.
Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis include medications, rest, exercise, physical therapy/occupational therapy, and surgery to correct damage to the joint.
The type of treatment will depend on several factors, including the person’s age, overall health, medical history, and the severity of the arthritis.
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The Best Places To Live With Arthritis: 14 Great Options
For anyone living with osteoarthritis, there are many challenges they face daily. From tying their shoes to making trips to the store, every task can be made harder by the joint pain of this wear-and-tear condition. One potential solution? Finding one of the best places to live with arthritis in the United States, which can make your life easier and may just ease your pain. Here are the 14 best cities to live in with arthritis .
The Best Climate For Arthritis Sufferers
Arthritis is a common disease that affects over 46 million people, or one in five adults. They are many different types, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid and juvenile arthritis. The main symptoms include pain, stiffness in the joints, fatigue, and swelling. The disease can make everyday tasks painful or nearly impossible. Though arthritis can be controlled through a number of different treatments and medications, the climate where the arthritis sufferer lives can also impact the disease.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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Possible Causes For More Pain When Its Cold
Whether studies have proven that cold weather causes rheumatoid arthritis symptoms to worsen doesnt help you if you find your own pain and stiffness go up when the temperature drops. Even if theres no scientific explanation for the cause, you can still talk with your doctor about ways to manage this change in symptoms.
Some doctors theorize that pain and stiffness may worsen because of the drop in barometric pressure. The pain and stiffness from rheumatoid arthritis is caused by inflammation in the membranes lining your joints. A drop in barometric pressure could cause the tissues to expand, putting more pressure on an already crowded joint. This would cause the pain and stiffness to worsen.
But if the barometric pressure causes body tissues to expand, why doesnt everyone feel painor more painwhen it gets cold? Because barometric pressure doesnt affect everyone. For example, some people with migraines see their pain increase or worsen when the weather and barometric pressure change, but others dont.
Another possible cause is how our body responds when we first step outside in the cold. Its not unusual to feel our bodies stiffen up and remain stiff until were back into a warmer environment. The same thing occurs if youre sitting in a cold home or office. The cold can slow blood circulation and cause muscle .
What If The Weather Really Does Affect My Arthritis
If you still feel like certain weather conditions or changes in the weather are affecting the symptoms of your arthritis, there are things you can try to ease the pain.
For example, many of my patients find it helps to keep as warm as possible. Simple painkillers such as paracetamol taken regularly often help too.
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to ease arthritic symptoms and provides the extra benefit of increasing your body temperature .
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Visit The Experts At Prima Care
Perhaps the best way to avoid arthritis pain this winter is to visit our specialists at Prima CARE. Our rheumatoid arthritis specialists can help you get the right treatment for your arthritis, including arthritis pain relief medication, easing your pain and making this time of year more enjoyable.
Plus, if you havent already, its important to get your flu and COVID-19 vaccines. As an autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis makes you more susceptible to contagious illnesses like these. Plus, people with rheumatoid arthritis are at a higher risk of developing complications from these illnesses, making them even more dangerous and even more worth avoiding. Make getting vaccinated a priority this winter to help keep yourself safe.
Make this winter and holiday season as easy and comfortable as possible take care of yourself by staying warm, reducing stress, eating well, staying active, and visiting your doctors at Prima CARE! Schedule online or call -375-0504 for more information!
Consider Some Car Modifications
A driver rehabilitation specialist can suggest assistive devices and modifications to your car that will fit your individual driving needs with RA, Schold-Davis says. The number of equipment modifications that can be made to your car is astounding, she explains. For example, if you have shoulder pain, you can have the turn signal moved to the side that doesnt hurt, she adds. You can also have your seat modified to turn out and lower down, so getting in or out is much easier. Admittedly, that is an expensive proposition. You can also put a plastic bag, silk scarf, or a seat slide on the seat so you can sit and turn. “Line the seat of your car with a plastic trash bag it makes sliding in and out A LOT easier,” says Dr. JB Kirby, 52, as shared on Tippi RA. Leather seats can also make sliding in or out easier.
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Does Weather Affect Arthritis Pain
With the winter weather biting hard in many parts of the country, you may be one of the many arthritis sufferers who feel that their arthritis pain is influenced by the weather — specifically, that they experience more arthritis pain on cold, rainy days and less arthritis pain on warm, dry days. Johns Hopkins Health Alerts reports on two recent research studies on whether climate really does affect arthritis pain, which have produced conflicting results. The Johns Hopkins Health Alerts editors have also just released a free Special Report on Arthritis Pain Relief to help arthritis sufferers with the latest news on the most effective arthritis pain relief strategies.
What Does Past Research Say About Weather And Arthritis Pain
The question of whether theres a link between weather and aches and pains has been studied extensively. While a definitive answer is nearly impossible to provide because its hard to prove a negative researchers have been unable to make a strong case for a strong connection.
For example, a 2014 study in Australia found no link between back pain and rain, temperature, humidity, or air pressure. This study collected data regarding features of the weather at the time of first symptoms, and compared it to the weather a week and a month before. But, an earlier study found that among 200 patients followed for three months, knee pain increased modestly when temperature fell or barometric pressure rose.
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Opt For Indoor Exercise
While limiting your outdoor activities in cold weather, you could try indoor exercises that are also gentle on your joints. Walking is an effective exercise for pain management. You can find guided walking videos on YouTube that will get you moving. You can either follow along while walking in place or around your home.
I also have tried low-impact indoor exercises classes like guided yoga. This can be great if you feel like socializing. But if not, YouTube is a great resource for free tutorials on many forms of exercise.
If you feel stiff when exercising, some gentle stretching could be helpful before, during, or after you exercise. Ensuring your body has warmed up and cooled down may help prevent injury and increased pain.
Remember, everyoneâs body is different, and it may take some patience to find what you enjoy most and what movement feels best for your body.
Cloudy With A Chance Of Pain
The quest to define the link between arthritis and the weather continues, with researchers adopting more novel approaches that embrace modern technology.
The first smartphone-based study to investigate the relationship between weather and chronic pain, otherwise known as Cloudy with a chance of pain, ran between January 2016 and April 2017. During this time it collected 5 million pieces of data on symptoms, however the findings are yet to be reported.6
One smartphone-based study that has released findings looked at the location-based weather parameters of 1,334 participants in the US. Any significant links between pain symptoms and the weather were very weak in this study.7
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When To Get Medical Advice
See a GP if you think you have symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, so they can try to identify the underlying cause.
Diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis quickly is important, because early treatment can prevent it getting worse and reduce the risk of joint damage.
Find out more about diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis.
Climate Effects On Arthritis
The place in which a person with arthritis lives may affect their day to day pain and fatigue. According to a study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine in Argentina and Florida, sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis were affected by high humidity and high barometric pressure. Those with osteoarthritis were affected only by high humidity. The study concluded that those living in warm, dry climates had fewer flare ups of the disease, but the actual course the disease was not affected by climate. One reason a warm climate is helpful is because the person does not have to deal with snow and ice, which can make it difficult to get around. Cold weather may also make the joints feel more stiff.
Another benefit of living in a warm climate is that it is easier to remain active in consistently nice weather. This allows for more exercise, which may strengthen joints and decrease pain.
- The place in which a person with arthritis lives may affect their day to day pain and fatigue.
- One reason a warm climate is helpful is because the person does not have to deal with snow and ice, which can make it difficult to get around.
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Support Your Back And Keep Joints Warm
To ease the pain in your lower back when you drive, use pillows or a rolled-up towel to support it, Dr. Domingues suggests. Heated seats can also be helpful, he says. The heat can relieve joint pain and help keep joints flexible, especially those in large body parts like the back and the hips. If your car isnt equipped with heated seats, you might want to apply heat packs to your joints before starting your journey, or install heated seat covers.
When I travel, I always bring pillows and a blanket. If possible, driving with heated seats is a huge help,” says Christina, who has RA, as shared on Tippi RA.
How Does Cold Weather Affect Rheumatoid Arthritis
For several people who are struck with arthritis, the onset of winter means one thing a long, hard battle tackling daily aches and pains and dealing with a subsequent increase in discomfort. Studies have long revealed that during the colder parts of the year, individuals living with rheumatoid arthritis and other similar ailments suffer from increased pain in the joints. As a matter of fact, research has proven that a change in the barometric pressure is directly responsible for exacerbating joint discomfort and joint stiffness. This is because a sudden drop in the barometric pressure causes the joints in the body to swell up thus increasing the pressure on the nerves that are responsible for controlling the pain centers present in the body. Simply put, as the mercury levels drop, the body swells up, thereby causing the pains, stiffness, and aches to become more prominent.
Another theory is that during colder months, the body tends to conserve heat thus increasing the blood flow to organs lying in the body center such as the lungs and heart. When theres an increase in the blood flow, the arms, shoulders, legs, knee joints and blood vessels constrict. A lesser flow of blood thus leads to those areas feeling stiffer which, in turn, causes pain and discomfort.
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Stay Cool In The Pool
If the heat and humidity aggravate your symptoms, you may want to head to the pool. The water can help cool you down and provide relief to painful joints. If you dont have your own pool or a summer-long pool pass is out of your budget, try talking to your local community or aquatic center about your situation and need for the facilities. They may be able to provide a limited or part-time membership or point you toward specials and other options that could lower the price.
Whatever works for you, we hope you can stay cool in this heat and humidity! Please continue to share with us how you beat the heat, and let us know if theres anything we may have missed!
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Cold Weather And Joint Pain
In one study, which looked at 245 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, it was found that older patients were more likely to report flare-ups during the colder weather.4
However, a more extensive analysis of nine studies in patients with rheumatoid arthritis failed to identify a link between the weather and pain.5
The Benefits Of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscles, as well as your immune system. You get most of your vitamin D from direct sunlight when your skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays.
According to Cancer Research UK, the length of time you need in the sun to make enough vitamin D depends on skin type, time of day or year, and where you are in the world.
There are no set guidelines on how much time is needed in the sun, but those with lighter skins may need just 10 minutes of sunlight every day in the UK, while those with darker skin may need around 25 minutes.
There are guidelines on vitamin D supplementation for everyone in the UK, says Professor Walker-Bone. But if youre worried about your vitamin D levels and joint pain, its important to get advice from your GP or rheumatology team. They can check your vitamin D levels, ideally in the winter months when they are likely to be lower.
Some people find their psoriasis gets better when theyre out in the sun, but more research is needed to see if sunlight helps psoriatic arthritis.
Natural sunlight can help skin psoriasis, but doesnt seem to help joint symptoms, says Professor WalkerBone. Many people with psoriatic arthritis dont have very bad skin, so PUVA treatment cant help.
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