Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cold Weather Tips

    Starting in September, it will start to get colder where I live. And I know this post seems out of place, because on my side of the world we're in summer and it's quite hot, but it's best to plan ahead.
    Cold weather is a flare-up trigger for most people with arthritis. To stay healthy (or prevent your arthritis from getting worse) during the fall and winter season, I've created a list of tips. I have personally experimented with all of these suggestions and found them useful. Remember that everyone is different and stay safe!
  1. Heat up your socks with a hairdryer. It sounds stupid, but it will keep your toes, ankles, and feet warm which prevents a flare-up. The same can be done with gloves. The thicker the sock, the longer you should blow-dry it. Make sure the warmth is appropriate and safe before putting them on your feet - they heat up quickly! 
  2. Wear braces on your knees or any other joint. This helps with stabilization and with keeping your knees warm. Don't get ones that prevent too much flexibility, as we don't want to stiffen up! 
  3. Set two alarms - one for thirty minutes before you need to get up and one for the time you need to get up. Have a heated blanket ready. After the first alarm, plug it in and turn it on. Sleep more. Second alarm goes off a wah-lah! Your joints are not quite as stiff! 
  4. Sleep with your socks on. Sounds annoying, is annoying, really works. 
  5. Hot tub time. Okay, so as some of you already know, I absolutely HATE hot tubs. But in the cold weather, they can do a good deal to keep your joints in motion. You don't have to stay in too long for relief. I hate being wet and I hate hot water (I've been known to get cold showers), so this is a tricky one for me. It actually doesn't help very much unless you've just gotten out of the cold, in my opinion. 
  6. Henry to the rescue! Henry = Rachel's beloved heating pad. (Did I seriously just speak in third person? Didn't I learn my lesson about that in geometry?) Anyway, Henry can be extremely beneficial. Opt for him or a heated blanket to help you when you're doing a sitting-still type of job or chilling out or whatever. 
  7. Prepare yourself. Look at the forecast ahead of time. If there is high humidity, a rain shower or storm, or especially cold weather ahead, make sure to follow these tips and any more that you may find very diligently. Arthritis has been known to trap people on-the-spot with flare-ups, including myself. Trust me, it's best not to let it get to that point. 
  8. Get heat patches. I have found these at athletic stores, and you can buy an adhesive kind that will stick to the outside of your clothing. I frequently use them for my back. No one can tell, if you're wearing two layers and you stick it on the first. YOU CANNOT STICK THESE DIRECTLY ONTO YOUR SKIN. I cannot emphasize that enough. I was stupid enough to try it once, and boy did that get painful. 
  9. Keep ibuprofen close at hand. This is a pretty dumb tip, because you should be doing it year-round unless your arthritis is in remission or doing significantly well, but it is extra important in the chilly months. 
  10. If you're waiting, wait inside. There is no point in standing around in the cold, because that will only make your joints worse and you WILL become irritated with every single person in a 3-foot range. 
  11. Don't follow these tips. I know, I know. Right now you're like, "Rachel, what in the world, why would you tell me all of these and then say don't follow them?" Well, that's not actually what I mean. You should follow the tips as much as you can. But don't let them stop you. You can still go outdoors and get cold if you don't have any ibuprofen or heat patches, but you need to understand the consequences. And if you're the type of person who always takes it too far, like I am, then maybe you're best just sticking to the tips. Just don't let them be deciding factors. 
     Sorry that these posts haven't come very frequently lately, we were busy with traveling. If you have any additional tips, comment on this post or email me!
    Also, I've been really behind on email lately, but I'm going to attempt to at least partially catch up. Thanks for being patient with me!



  1. Thanks for this sharing. All the tips are useful in joint pain relief. Heating, massaging are very useful.

  2. I am saving this post because I live in Minnesota and the winters are horrendous. Thanks so much for thinking ahead... For ALL of us! Love you Rach!



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