Winter is the season when one experiences extreme muscle and joint pains. Due to cold weather there is a decrease in the blood flow to the muscles and they instantly tighten up. And then, these tightened muscles become susceptible to injury.
A tightened muscle shortens its length and also reduces its range of motion. Everyday activities such as walking up the stairs or reaching overhead become much more difficult during the cold season. This, in turn, causes strain and affects the body.
Joint pains especially of the knee and the shoulders are common complaints of senior citizens and also of those who have been injured due to falls, accidents or are under post-operative care.
Numbness and weakness
Circulation of blood in the peripheral arteries is found to affect 5 to 10 per cent of patients which also leads to pain in the leg muscles, upper limb muscles and also arms. There is a common complaint of numbness and weakness by patients throughout the year but it aggravates the most during winter season.
Dr Bheem Sangars, consultant vascular and endo vascular surgeon at Global Hospitals explained, “During the winters, the environment makes the blood vessels go into spasm. This is found more so in small blood vessels located in lower parts of the body. People who have irregular heart beat and increased tendency to form clots in circulatory system are prone to this type of emergency situation.”
Those who have medical problems of circulatory system like cardiovascular diseases and diabetes must avoid exposure to severe cold and protect themselves with warm clothing.
Joint pains get worse during winter season
Common pains which get worse during winters are joint pains of any type. The intensity of the pain is directly linked to the drop in the pressure. This is because the tissues around the joints swell due to low pressures resulting in increased pain. The fluid in the tissues becomes more viscous during winter and this increased viscosity decreases the elasticity of the muscles resulting in pain.
Dr Shekhar Reddy, senior consultant anesthesiology at Apollo Hospitals explained, “While joint pains are common in senior citizens, women and also those who have suffered from accidents but now we are also seeing in post-operative patients. This is because they are immuno-compromised and body has gone through a stress factor due to the operation.”
Regular exercise helps in reducing pain
People above 50 years of age usually complain a lot about pain in the back muscles, spinal muscles, calf muscles and hamstrings. These muscles are used regularly in walking and bending forward. Due to the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles these cramps are caused which results in extreme pain.
Dr A.V. Gurava Reddy, chief orthopaedic and joint replacement surgeon at Sunshine Hospitals explained, “Diabetic and cancer patients feel a lot of pain compared to normal patients. Hence, apart from regular medicines it is very important that they follow simple stretching exercises which will help to reduce the pain. Apart from that rest, hot water fermentation, muscle relaxants and also vitamin E supplements are important to reduce the muscle pain.”
Pain management techniques that helps ease pain effectively
It seems silly to have to remind yourself to stay warm, but often during winters our bodies are confused with cool mornings, warm afternoons and chilly evenings. It is important to have an extra layer of garment handy when one feels chilly. When the body is warm, muscles are less likely to tense or spasm and bones will not ache.
Although hot weather causes one to consume more fluids, it is equally important to hydrate oneself during cold weather. Try to avoid excess of caffeine, which slows blood flow through your body and increases the chances of soreness and cramps. Warm decaffeinated drinks such as tea are good options as it will help keep the body warm and hydrated at the same time.
Therapeutic massage is a wonderful way to relieve any muscle or joint pain brought on by the change in the season. Regular massage also helps by loosening your muscles and increasing blood flow....