Rheumatism and arthrosis: joints hurt particularly badly in winter
People suffering from rheumatism and osteoarthritis have particularly severe complaints in the cold. Nevertheless, those affected should not take care of themselves in winter. Movement is one way that can help relieve joint pain. But you should also pay attention to the right nutrition.
People with joint diseases suffer more in winter
Several hundred diseases of the musculoskeletal system are summarized under the generic term “rheumatism”, some of which are very similar. One of them is osteoarthritis. This is one of the most common joint diseases. Especially in winter, sufferers often suffer particularly badly. Many patients are therefore careful in the cold season. But they don't do themselves a favor. Because only through regular movement do the joints stay well "lubricated".
Cold complaints are often worse
In the cold and wet season, the joints of patients with inflammatory joint diseases such as arthrosis and rheumatism hurt very often. Knee, spine, and hallux pains also often get worse in the cold.
Flu infections can also cause complaints. The severity of the pain differs from patient to patient.
"The scale ranges from mild, pulling to acute, massive pain," explains orthopedic surgeon Prim. Dr. Manfred Kuschnig from the Elisabethinen Hospital in Klagenfurt (Austria) in a communication.
Tense muscles as a trigger
"A main reason for increased joint pain in the cold season is the fact that people do not relax when it is cold," said the Medical Director and Board Member of the Department of Orthopedics and Orthopedic Surgery at the Elisabethinen Hospital in Klagenfurt.
"This makes the muscles tighter than usual. Blood circulation is also reduced, the pressure on the joints increases and this leads to dull pain."
Tension pains in the back arise mainly from an incorrect posture in the cold. “Anyone who freezes shoulders and the back becomes slightly hunched. If this happens more often, the muscles react, ”explains the doctor.
Stay active even when it's cold
For many sufferers, the pain in winter leads to a pronounced protective behavior.
"But they are choosing the wrong way because joints live from movement," says Kuschnig. If joints are not moved, they produce less synovial fluid and the pain worsens.
Regular exercise ensures better blood circulation in the joints and thus reduces friction pain.
"With degenerative diseases such as arthrosis, well-trained muscles are particularly important," says the specialist.
Therefore, those affected should not do without walks even in the cold. The affected areas in particular should be moved regularly.
According to health experts, cycling or swimming can have a soothing effect on joint diseases.
Other sports that are easy on the joints, such as aqua jogging, water aerobics, Nordic walking or hiking, also help many sufferers, but not every sport is suitable for all types of osteoarthritis.
Patients should therefore best talk to their doctor or a physiotherapist about which sports are useful.
"I recommend winter walks on safe paths and keep your joints warm in this weather," says Kuschnig.
Persistent pain must be clarified
Persistent joint pain in winter, which cannot be attributed to known diseases, should be clarified by an orthopedic surgeon.
In a patient consultation, with X-rays or MRI scans and, if necessary, blood tests, the doctor investigates the cause and initiates appropriate treatment if necessary.
In this way, further progression of the symptoms can be prevented at an early stage.
So you can get through the winter better
In addition to regular exercise, there are other things that really help those affected.
This is how naturopathy can relieve arthrosis pain and stiffness. These include devil's claw and nettle extract.
In addition, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) treatment options and procedures such as acupuncture, cupping or Qi Gong are suitable for osteoarthritis.
Nutrition also plays an important role. With osteoarthritis, you should eat little or no meat and little cheese.
Osteoarthritis patients, in particular, should avoid beef and pork as much as possible because the animal fat they contain makes the arthritis symptoms worse.
Adequate hydration is also important. Especially in winter we often forget to drink a lot because we sweat little and feel less thirst.
Since sun and fresh air are a real treat for body and soul, every opportunity should be taken to soak up a few rays of sun - this is guaranteed to lighten the mood.
Hypothermia should be avoided, however, because the cold weakens the immune system. The reason: the blood vessels contract and the number of immune cells decreases.
Cold or flu viruses are so easy to play. There is only one way to stay warm from head to toe: put on a hat, scarf, gloves and winter boots before going outside. (ad)