Some of my clients who have applied for Social Security Disability benefits talk about how their arthritis hurts more in the winter due to the cold temperatures. This article from arthritisconnect.com explains that some people have more pain in the summer and gives 5 ways you can tame the pain.
5 Ways to Manage Arthritis During the Summer Months
Arthritis can be be painful any time of the year — especially during the summer.
By Lana Barhum June 23 1,452 2
Many believe that arthritis symptoms tend to be more aggressive in the winter months but this isn’t necessarily true. Arthritis can be painful any time of the year. Summer weather can increase swelling and inflammation and the high temperatures can make symptoms even more unpleasant. Further, people spend more time outdoors as the weather warms and will overdo activities and tire themselves out. Travel is more common during the summer months and requires sitting for long periods, resulting in an increase in joint stiffness and a decrease in circulation.
Here are five ways to help you manage your arthritis symptoms in the summer months:
If you are going to be outdoors in hot humid weather, it is important to drink plenty of liquids. Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps and even heat stroke. If you are taking anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen, it is even more important to stay hydrated because these medications constrict blood flow to the kidneys causing dehydration. Drink about six to eight glasses of water a day, more if you are exercising or planning to be outdoors for long periods.
You can stay cool during the summer months by wearing clothing that is lightweight and doesn’t attract heat. Further, if you are traveling by car for long periods, make sure the car has a working air conditioner. When you are outdoors, carry a small handheld fan with you. Most are inexpensive and can be purchased at your local dollar store. Try a cooling pad that uses your own body heat to cool your body down. Depending on the type you are looking for, you can find them at a local discount store or online retailer for around $20.
Not dressing comfortably can lead to arthritis pain. Wearing heavy or dark clothing can attract more heat. Also, be mindful of your choice in footwear. For example, sandals may seem like a lightweight choice for summer but they don’t provide much support and even apply pressure to your ankles and feet. Make sure your footwear provides support, comfort and doesn’t put pressure on your joints
Don’t let arthritis keep you indoors during the summer months. Do your best to avoid stressful situations and focus on being active. Water exercises are easy on the joints and help provide relief for muscles. If you experience low energy and fatigue later in the day, plan activity in the morning or early afternoon so you can rest and recuperate in the late afternoon and evenings when temperatures are higher.
Take Precautions When Traveling
If you will be traveling this summer, make sure you take precautions to minimize joint pain and stiffness. Pack lightly so your luggage is easy to handle or consider a suitcase that is easier to push or pull so you are not using too much energy and not putting stress on joints. If you are going to be sitting for long periods, make stops to stretch and walk. You should move your legs and feet at least once every hour. Wear comfortable shoes if you will be doing a lot of walking and moving. Don’t forget to travel with your medications and take them as scheduled. And last, plan activities in advance so you can avoid stressful situations. For example, if you are driving to your destination, leave enough time for yourself to make frequent stops for stretching and moving your legs.
No matter what your plans are for the summer, remember to plan accordingly to manage your arthritis symptoms. But don’t forget to have fun and don’t let arthritis get you down.