If you live with an arthritic condition you might find that your symptoms may be exacerbated by cold weather conditions, which can keep you away from doing the activities you enjoy. Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis may not react well to sudden weather or atmospheric changes, which may worsen symptoms.
Even without any specific conditions, most of us are very aware of how our bodies feel and move when we are cold – we may move slower and walk around when our muscles are tense and stiff. This can result in soreness that we may not experience otherwise. For those who work outside, be conscious of your working conditions. Feeling warm, safe and comfortable is important as heavy lifting and overexertion can increase risk of injury in colder temperatures.
Here are a few things that can be done to prevent stiffness and MSK-related injuries during the winter months:
- Maintain an active lifestyle – make sure you are doing some form of physical activity to exercise your muscles and joints
- Dress warmly – wear proper clothing to keep your body warm and protected from the cold
- Wear proper boots that are waterproof and warm, and have good threads to prevent falls
- Wear a warm hat (keeping your head warm reduces the amount of body heat that escapes from your head).
- Do not stay out in the cold for too long (if you work outside, move indoor during your breaks if possible).
Canadian Chiropractic Association