Many people with arthritis notice their joint pain increases when the weather gets colder. If that’s true for you, don’t lose hope — there may be some natural remedies you haven’t tried yet that can help. When colder weather sets in, try easing your extra joint-pain challenges with one of these natural remedies:
1. Wear lots of warm layers. Layering allows you to control your comfort level when temperatures change throughout the day. For example, you can wear two pairs of socks, then peel them off as needed. Or regularly layer long underwear under your regular clothing, then remove your top layers as needed.
2. Wear a hat. You probably heard that much of your body heat escapes through your head. A simple solution is to wear a knit hat — even when you’re indoors.
3. Wear warm footwear. Switch to insulated winter boots and store your regular shoes for the season. Also, wear warm slippers indoors, but make sure they aren’t so bulky that it is difficult for you to walk.
4. Cozy up with a heated bean bag. Many retailers sell bean bag “cozies” which can be warmed in a microwave oven, then used to keep you warm, just like a hot water bottle. Get one to have on hand, then heat and reheat throughout the day whenever you need a “warm up.”
5. Warm your bed before you tuck in for the night. Place a hot water bottle or heated bean bag under the covers a few minutes before you go to bed. Chances are, you’ll not only feel warmer throughout the night, you might even sleep better too.
6. Stay hydrated. When it’s hot outside, it’s normal to reach frequently for a glass of water to refresh yourself. But once it gets colder, you may start drinking less without even realizing it. Try to remember to stay well-hydrated because recent studies show even mild dehydration can make you more sensitive to pain.
7. Move your exercise indoors. When it gets cold outside, many people have a tendency to become less active. Plan ahead for the winter by establishing an exercise routine you can stick to indoors, such as using a treadmill or working out to an exercise video.
8. Consider a Vitamin D supplement. During winter, you're less likely to get enough vitamin D from its natural source — sunlight. If this happens, you might be more sensitive to joint pain. Talk to your doctor about your need for supplements or vitamin D-fortified foods.
Finally, don’t forget there are other natural remedies to help manage joint pain you can — and should — use no matter what the temperature is outside. Two important ones are eating an anti-inflammatory diet and maintaining a healthy weight.