"Low-Impact" Exercise Regiments Can Help Ease Winter Pains of Osteoarthritis
winter weather can contribute to people with osteoarthritis
experiencing more pain, according to an arthritis researcher at the
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ).
"But the good
news is that a temporary increase in pain has not been found to worsen
the arthritis," said Dr. Todd P. Stitik, a physiatrist at the UMDNJ-New
Jersey Medical School in Newark. A physiatrist is a physician trained
to treat patients through exercise therapy, physical or occupational
therapy and oral pain-relieving medications.
is a disease of the joint cartilage associated with secondary changes
in the underlying bone, which may ultimately cause pain and impair the
function of the affected joint.
weather, snow and ice usually causes individuals with arthritis to stay
inside more, and walk more slowly when outside, why do the symptoms
cited a study conducted by Dr. John Hollander, a physician at the
University of Pennsylvania, in the early 1960s. He put patients with
arthritis in a climate-controlled windowless building so that they
could not determine what the weather or temperature outside was.
that the patients nonetheless were able to reliably predict the weather
outside based on the amount of pain they were experiencing in their
arthritic joints," Dr. Stitik said. "The joints were acting like a
If turning up
the thermostat in your house won't fool your joints, what else can you
do? Dr. Stitik made the following recommendations:
- Keep your
body weight as close to ideal as possible and exercise to strengthen
the muscles surrounding the arthritic joints are two important factors
in controlling pain. Performing a low-impact exercise, such as swimming
or stationary bicycles, for 15 to 30 minutes a day can make a
- If you're taking medication or supplements, follow the proper protocol.
- Use your joints intelligently to prevent unnecessary overload that can lead to further wear and tear.
consider consulting a physician specially trained in the use of
exercises and oral pain relieving medications. Some patients also
benefit from physical or occupational therapy.
Source: University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, www.umdnj.edu.