Knees not feeling great this time of year?
Do you need a thermometer to let you know when the temperatures change outside?
Or do your joints painfully serve as your weather forecast? Unfortunately, for many who suffer from osteoarthritis or other inflammatory conditions, cold weather can cause havoc on already vulnerable parts of your body.
What causes the pain?
The Barometric pressure drops in winter. Researchers believe that when this happens, inflamed areas of our bodies (knees, hips, hands, elbows, and shoulders) swell. Swelling can irritate nerves, which results in increased pain.
Also low vitamin D levels add to pain
You may need more of the sunshine vitamin, suggests new research from the Clinical Journal of Pain.
Compared to those osteoarthritis sufferers with adequate vitamin D levels, those short on D reported significantly more knee pain and loss of function, according to the study data. Those results held regardless of a person’s weight, although the obese study participants were more likely to suffer from a vitamin D deficiency.
There are several different ways low D might mess with your knees, roughly 42% of Americans are dangerously low when it comes to vitamin D. You get most of your D from sun exposure.
A simple blood test from your doctor can determine whether you’re low in the vitamin, If you’re deficient, taking a vitamin D supplement for several months can help you raise your levels. While it’s difficult to get too much D, the amount you need depends on your weight and body composition. Your body stores vitamin D in the fat cells, meaning those with greater amounts of body fat require more of the vitamin to limit pain and loss of function.
Another good reason to keep vitamin D levels in good range is low D doubles your risk for dementia.
Ways to Keep knees warm and ease pain this winter
Thermacare heat wraps
I love these they help pain and keep my joints warm which allows me to move easier
Eat a balanced diet I have personally had great pain relief since changing to mostly plant based diet.
Follow a healthy diet by including seasonal fruits, vegetables, nuts grains,seeds .
It is essential for people who are already suffering from joint and knee pain to include foods rich in Vitamin K, D and C (like oranges, spinach, cabbage and tomatoes) into their diet; as they play an important role in the production of cartilage and helps the body absorb calcium thus strengthening the bones.
I also have learned hydration is also important for pain relief. Try to drink plenty of water or herbal teas, like nettle tea , chamomile ,ginger tea as our dehydration reduces flexibility, which can increase the chances of injury. Supplements with vitamin D or fish oil is recommended as it is rich in omega 3 which helps decrease inflammation. Stay away from unhealthy drinks. Alcohol, tea, coffee, and other aerated drinks reduce the amount of calcium you absorb, and weaken bones.
Swap your caffeine-fuelled drinks with water and fresh juices.
Exercise regularly. It not only helps you lose weight but also increases flexibility and strengthens the muscles that support the knee ( walking, swimming or cycling). Your knees experience about three to four times your body weight when you walk, so lose weight to help your knees.
Always check with your Doctor before starting any new exercise.
Fun Fact :
Keep your feet warm. Your big toe is your body’s thermostat, so keep it warm and your whole body will be warm.