“Winter is coming!” if you’re a GoT fan, this may mean a little more to you, but even if you’re not, I’m quite serious – winter is coming and if you’re like me, your joints are already letting you know it’s starting to get colder. Having an autoimmune disease winter is usually an interesting time, to say the least. In this post, I want to share some tips on how to keep warm and pain-free this winter.
Ok, so it doesn’t get too cold, snow is probably the last thing that could happen when it’s winter here in Brisbane, but it does get cold, especially for a person with an autoimmune disease like polyarteritis nodosa. One of the best things ever invented to help warm up cold muscles, aching joints and overall exhausted bodies is a warm bath! If you don’t have a bathtub, don’t despair, you can still warm up with a hot foot spa (fill your foot spa and basic basin and stick your feet in!). This can help you raise your core temperature and signal to your body to relax.
- Make a Muscle Relaxing Detox Bath. Add some Epsom salts (about a small handful); some pure essential oils like peppermint or lavender (25-35 drops); 2 teabags of your favourite tea (open up and sprinkle contents in the bath; you can rinse after); and a small capful of Olive Oil (this makes the tub slippery so be cautious, the oil acts as a skin cleanser and moisturizer). Then mix it all together until you’re ready to get in. Try to let your body soak for 15-30 minutes.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Bath. Bathing in apple cider vinegar can help reduce the symptoms of pain and arthritis. It also aids the mobility of the joints greatly as it reduces the excess uric acid build up in the body. Just add 1 to 2 cups of apple cider vinegar to a warm or hot bath and soak for up to 30 minutes. Make sure to drink lots of water before and after your bath.
Avoid alcohol and drink more water instead
Alcohol causes blood to rush towards your skin, lowering your core temperature. It also keeps your body from shivering, which is a key part of how you stay warm. Drink as much water as possible because if you’re dehydrated, your body will send the fluids you do have to essential organs like your heart and brain, instead of your fingers and toes. For people with poor circulation from conditions like diabetes and Raynaud’s Disease, that lack of blood flow can worsen hand and foot pain.
Arthritis can affect people at any time throughout the year, but the winter and wet weather months can make it even harder to manage symptoms. The cold and damp weather affects those living with arthritis as climate can create increased pain to joints whilst changes also occur to exercise routines. We have an instinct during winter to hibernate; however, a lack of physical activity will cause joints to become stiff. Exercise eases arthritis pain. It increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and helps combat fatigue. To manage arthritic conditions during the cooler months, individuals need to plan physical activities that are easy to do during winter, such as:
- Walking indoors, such as around shopping centres
- Household chores, like vacuuming
- Playing with children
- Swimming indoors, such as Hydrotherapy
- Taking an aerobics or yoga class
- Listening to music and dancing
- Using the stairs instead of the elevator
- Stretching or doing light exercises while watching TV
P.S How cool would it be to have a heated, indoor infinity pool?
Have you got some more tips to keep warm and pain-free this winter? Share them below.