Sunshine and Sore Joints? Beating Arthritis Pain this Summer

Sunshine and Sore Joints? Beating Arthritis Pain this Summer

Summer conjures images of carefree days, but for those with arthritis, the heat and humidity can bring unwelcome flare-ups. Don't let arthritis sideline your summer fun! Here are some tips to keep your joints happy and yourself active all season long.

Why Summer Can Be Tough on Joints: The culprit? Inflammation. Hot weather can worsen inflammation in your joints, leading to increased pain, stiffness, and swelling. Additionally, changes in barometric pressure associated with summer storms can also trigger flare-ups.

Keeping Your Joints Cool and Comfortable:

  • Hydration is Key: Dehydration thickens synovial fluid, which lubricates your joints. Aim for eight glasses of water daily, and consider incorporating hydrating fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumber, and celery.
  • Beat the Heat: Plan outdoor activities for cooler mornings or evenings. Seek shade whenever possible, and wear loose, breathable clothing. Consider using cooling towels or wraps for targeted relief on inflamed joints.
  • Dress for Comfort: Supportive shoes are crucial for minimizing joint stress. Opt for shoes with good arch support and adequate cushioning. When it comes to clothing, prioritize comfort over fashion. Breathable fabrics like cotton will keep you cool and prevent chafing.

Staying Active Despite Arthritis:

  • Move It or Lose It: Regular exercise strengthens muscles that support your joints, reducing pain and improving flexibility. Opt for low-impact activities like swimming, water walking, or cycling.
  • Listen to Your Body: Don't push yourself too hard. Take breaks when needed, and adjust the intensity of your workouts based on how your joints feel. Pain is a signal to slow down or modify your activity.
  • Warm Up and Cool Down: Always dedicate time to gentle stretches before and after exercise to improve flexibility and prevent injury.

Bonus Tips:

  • Sunscreen Savvy: Certain arthritis medications can increase sun sensitivity. Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher liberally and reapply frequently.
  • Cool It Down: Ice packs or cooling gels can provide temporary relief for inflamed joints. Apply them for 15-20 minutes at a time, wrapped in a thin towel to prevent skin irritation.
  • Talk to Your Doctor: Discuss any changes in your arthritis symptoms with your doctor. They may recommend adjustments to your medication or suggest additional therapies like physical therapy.

By following these tips, you can minimize the impact of arthritis on your summer plans. Remember, with a little planning and self-care, you can enjoy all the joys of the season without sacrificing your joint health.