You’ve heard people with old injuries and suffering joints talk about how they can tell when bad weather is on the horizon because of all the pain they’re feeling. Maybe you’re one of those people, too. Especially with cold weather, chronic pain can be worsened for a number of reasons. If the cold is restricting blood flow to the affected parts of your body, pain might increase. Of course, we also tend to be less physically active when it is colder out, which makes it harder to deal with our pain, especially if exercise is helpful in alleviating it. Here are some suggestions for taking care of your chronic pain during the winter months.
When it’s cold out, we tend to want to stay inside, where it’s warm. Because of that, we tend to reduce our physical activity, as well. If we don’t have a home gym, or even some basic equipment, it can be relatively easy to forget to get up and move. While it is ideal to go outside and walk for cardio, at least, if you can, you can also exercise indoors. Doing chores, or even watching exercise videos and following along for a few minutes a day can help ease your chronic pain.
This might seem like common sense, but if you don’t dress warm enough during the cold months, you’re putting your joints and skin and risk of being extra sensitive to your existing chronic pain. Since it is incredibly important in many cases of chronic pain to get outside and exercise, staying warm while you do it is critical. Warm clothing will keep you as flexible as possible, as well. You should also consider compression clothing if your doctor recommends it.
While chronic pain may make the act of stretching difficult or impossible for some people, if you can do it, you should. This will help keep your limbs and your joints more limber, not just before exercise, but before you start your day. In some cases, the act of some simple, brief stretches can help reduce your chronic pain symptoms throughout the day. Look up the kinds of stretches that would be best for your chronic pain, or discuss it with your doctor.
Because the cold and being indoors can decrease our general motivation during the winter, it is good to find coping mechanisms to make motivation easier for us. If you are having trouble with your chronic pain during winter months that you can’t shake, you should speak with a doctor to see if there’s a better treatment regimen for you. If you’re having trouble mentally during the winter months, finding motivation or otherwise, you should speak to a mental health specialist. Chronic pain isn’t in your head, but as with all of us, what is in our head can very easily affect how our bodies act, react and feel, especially when external stimuli makes it harder to function.