Health Uncategorized

Arthritis and the Cold

It seems as though the polar vortex is returning to America, and many parts of the country are being blasted by cold air again. Nashville is no different. The high on Monday was 65, and then the high yesterday was 38, which we hit early in the day. And it’s just going to get colder this week!

Brutally cold air is miserable for everyone, but it especially affects people living with diseases like arthritis. Pain levels and stiffness go up and it isn’t fun at all. Here are some of my tips for surviving the cold when you have a medical issue that (like arthritis) means for misery with the cold.

1. Heating Pad


Not only do these keep you warm, but they also help loosen stiff muscles.

I love my Bed Buddy for sure

2. Ice


I know this might sound counterintuitive, but if you have swelling in your joints you need to ice them. Ice reduces swelling, and therefore pain!

3. Over-the-counter Pain Meds Regularly

Depending on you and what your issue it, it might be a good idea to add a dose of Tylenol or an NSAID like Advil at the beginning of your day. If your issue is muscle aches, go with Tylenol. If your issue is joint pain/inflammation, go with an NSAID like Advil or Aleve. (Note: I’m not a doctor, but this is what doctors have told me and prescribed me. For taking them every day long-term, talk to your doctor, because it could damage your stomach lining.)

4. Extra Rest


Don’t push yourself more than you need to! If at all possible, block in extra rest to your day.

5. Dress as Comfortably As Possible 


There is no need to add to your overall discomfort. Make your life as easy as possible!

What are your ways of dealing with the cold?

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  • I have osteoarthritis in my left knee (thank you, 14 years of ballet!) and in Milwaukee, it hasn't been above freezing for weeks, which translates to lots of knee pain. I like using the thermacare heat wraps when I have to go to work or school; they stay warm for an impressive amount of time and really help my achiness. Also, booze always helps 🙂