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Keeping Summer Joint Pain at Bay

Keeping Summer Joint Pain at Bay

Managing Arthritis Symptoms During the Summer

When living with chronic pain, seasonal transitions can be difficult on your joints. With temperatures spiking during the summer, there is a possibility to experience flare-ups in symptoms associated with arthritic conditions.

When there is a drastic change in temperature, barometric pressure also changes. Studies have shown that this change in the pressure in the atmosphere can affect how the tissue in your muscles, tendons, and bones expand and contract. In other words, a sudden increase in temperature can cause a spike in musculoskeletal aches and pains. Once temperatures become more stable, joint pain should subside.

Fortunately, you can minimize the severity of your arthritic symptoms by making adjustments to your everyday routine. Follow these tips to help you keep your arthritis under control all summer long.

Keep Stress Under Control

When you experience stress, your brain has a chemical response that then brings on both psychological and physical reactions. During a stressful event, your brain releases the stress hormone called cortisol. As a physical response to this hormone, your muscles tense up. However, when you have prolonged periods of stress, this tenseness is continuous.

When exposed to cortisol for prolonged periods, people living with chronic pain and arthritic conditions can experience an exacerbation of pain, especially in the neck, shoulders, and back. One way to effectively manage these symptoms is to reduce the amount of stress you are experiencing. Some ways you can effectively manage stress are:

  • Getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
  • Identifying situations that trigger you to feel stressed or overwhelmed.
  • Talk to someone you trust about your troubling feelings.
  • Spend time with friends and family.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Practice mindfulness meditation.
  • Try deep-breathing exercises.
  • Write your feelings down in a journal when you feel stressed.

Get Moving

Although it may seem like you should take it easy and be more still while living with an arthritic condition, the opposite holds true. Staying active helps to reduce joint pain, increase range-of-motion, and improve quality of life. However, it can be difficult to find low-impact activities that add to your weekly goal of exercise. Here are some activities that are easy on your joints.

Go For a Swim

Swimming is an excellent, low-impact activity for those living with arthritis. Because swimming gives you buoyancy, you are able to use your joints and muscles without added stress. Some other benefits of swimming to support your joint health include:

  • Reduced joint pain
  • Strengthening supporting muscles that surround affected joints
  • Increased range of motion
  • Protection from falling injuries
Practice Yoga and Dynamic Stretching

Yoga is another excellent low-impact activity that has been shown to alleviate arthritis pain. When you feel a flare-up coming on, here are some yoga poses to practice to target different joints:

  • Wrists: Extended arms, wall stretch, hand-under-foot pos, and clenched fists are great for alleviating wrist pain.
  • Shoulders: Rabbit pose, thread and needle, and eagle arms
  • Hips and lower back: Child’s pose, happy baby, frog pose, and pigeon pose are all good for opening the hips and stretching the lower back.
  • Ankles: Camel pose, chair pose, and eagle pose are all excellent for stretching and strengthening your ankles.

When practicing yoga, be sure to use proper form to prevent any injuries. If you are unsure of how to do a certain pose or experience any joint pain, stop immediately.

Prevent Injuries

When you experience a joint injury, you are more likely to develop arthritic conditions later on in life. When you take the proper precautions to prevent musculoskeletal trauma, you are also protecting the cartilage within your joints from wearing away. When exercising or participating in physical activity, be sure to follow these tips:

  • Warm-up before exercises.
  • Cool down after physical activity.
  • Maintain proper form when exercising.
  • Take rest days between exercising.
  • Wear the appropriate gear and footwear for your activity.

Before practicing any exercises or moves that you are unfamiliar with, be sure to check with your orthopedic specialist to see if it is appropriate for your condition. If you experience any pain while exercising, stop immediately.

Listen to your Body

Orthopedic pain affects millions of Americans every day. While many adults choose to push through minor aches and pains on a regular basis, it can be detrimental to your orthopedic health in the long run. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it is essential that you listen to your body and speak with an orthopedic specialist sooner than later:

  • Joint pain that persists for more than a few days.
  • Joint swelling that happens several times in one month.
  • You experience episodes of intense joint pain several times within one month.

If you ignore joint pain or injuries, they have the potential to become more serious and even cause permanent damage. Your orthopedist will be able to effectively identify the source of your pain, diagnose your condition, and come up with a personalized treatment plan to address your needs.

Orthopedic Care in Gillette, Wyoming

If you have concerns when it comes to your orthopedic health, Powder River Orthopedics & Spine (PROS) is here to help in Gillette, Wyoming. We can evaluate your options so you can rest assured that you get the best possible outcome and are back to a happy and active life in no time.


Call the PROS at 307.686.1413 or visit www.cchwyo.org/PROS to learn more.