Every year around this time, we tend to see an increase in patients experiencing stiffness or soreness in their muscles and joints. And contrary to what some people believe, this is no coincidence.
You see, similar to how a jar contracts in your fridge and expands when it’s sitting on the counter, your body’s muscles do the same thing. During the warmer months, we don’t experience the same pain because our muscles and joints are expanded. But during the winter, as the temperature drops, our muscles and joints lose their heat and contract or shrink if you will. This can cause the soreness or stiffness described above but can also limit a person’s range of motion or even make your body susceptible to pinched nerves.
So, what can you do to limit the aches and pains caused by the cold weather? Aside from stretching and seeking proper medical treatment like physiotherapy, massage therapy or acupuncture to name a few, you can do many small things around the home to limit the effects cold weather has on your body. Continue reading below for a list of these simple things you can do around the house, and if you have any questions, we encourage you to reach out to us by phone or email.
Dress In Layers. Lots Of Layers.
An easy way to ensure you spend as little time as possible cold is to dress in multiple layers. This way, as you make your way from your home to the car and then to the office, you can add or remove layers to maintain a warm core temperature. As you scrape your car off and wait for it to warm up, you can make use of every layer and then after arriving at your warm (or cold) office you can decide to remove a layer or keep it on. Did you know that loosely wrapping a scarf around your neck is a great way to combat headaches? Give it a try and see for yourself!
Seal Out Drafts
The Waterloo region is known for its mix of modern, newly-built homes and century homes. And although these types of houses feature entirely different design styles, they both can fall victim to drafts. If you’ve noticed a draft in your home, we suggest looking into how you can seal it up. This is because a cold draft can be all it takes for someone to start to experience stiffness or soreness. Depending on the location of the draft, it can be rather inexpensive to fix or can require a professional’s touch. For example, a draft coming in under the door connecting your garage to your home can often be fixed by replacing the weather stripping or by merely placing a rolled-up towel at the base of the door. A draft coming in through a wall, however, will more than likely require a carpenter or contractor to remedy it.
Limit Your Time Out in the Cold
We’re sure we don’t have to tell you twice to not spend too much time outside in the cold. What we do recommend, however, is to get enough fresh air to boost morale, clear your airways and most importantly, activate your body’s self-regulating ability. Once you’ve spent enough time outdoors to do these things, we recommend heading back inside to warm up the rest of your body. Spending too much time outside can increase the severity of muscle and joint pain and can make it more difficult to get rid of.
Optimize Your Home’s Heating System
We love saving money as much as the next person, but at the same time, we don’t feel it’s worth putting your body through pain and discomfort to save a few bucks. With today’s modern heating systems, it’s possible for homeowners to program their systems to turn on and off at certain times. This way, homeowners can make sure the house is warm when they are at home, limiting their pain and discomfort, and can turn it down or off when at work, saving them money. We recommend setting your system to turn on 2-3 hours before you wake up as well as return home at the end of the day so that your home is warm and comfortable when you need it to be.
We know it’s easy to fall victim to the warm, comfy couch. But during the winter, it’s best for your body if you try and stay as mobile as possible. Now, we’re not recommending you run on a treadmill the entire time you’re watching TV, but instead, try and get up and walk around every other commercial break. Or better yet, rather than binge-watching a full season of your favourite show, limit yourself to 1-3 episodes depending on the length. Trust us, your body will thank you later.
Accept the fact that the Colder Weather Has an Effect on Your Body
Last but not least, accepting the fact that the cold weather affects your body goes a long way. By accepting the reality and planning ahead, you can give your body time to adjust before diving headfirst into your day, limit the amount of pain and discomfort you suffer from spending time outside and just simply make day-to-day tasks and activities more enjoyable for you and your family.
We hope our list has given you some good ideas as to how you can limit or even prevent soreness or stiffness from setting in in your muscles and joints this winter. We also hope at least one proves useful to you and allows you and your family to enjoy as much time together as possible this fall and winter. However, if you do find yourself suffering from pain or discomfort, we recommend getting in touch with one of our team members by phone or email so that we can help you diagnose your problem and treat it effectively and efficiently. If you have any questions, we also encourage you to reach out to us.