Winter tips for rheumatics

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Keep your joints warm / exercise as much as possible / relaxation is good for you

When icy temperatures alternate with wet and cold rain or snow and a cold polar wind blows in between, it is difficult for every third German. The phenomenon, colloquially referred to as weather sensitivity, particularly affects rheumatics. While pain subsides in summer and you feel more flexible, your life in winter is often characterized by joint stiffness and severe pain. Univ.-Doz states that pain medication consumption does not increase immeasurably when the cold fronts approach or windy weather approaches. Dr. Bertram HölzI, medical director of the Gastein Heilstollen, helpful tips for rheumatics.

A lot of warmth helps a lot Although permanent frost in winter often has different effects on rheumatic diseases: Patients who suffer from active inflammatory joint diseases occasionally experience pain relief from the cold. Nevertheless, you should avoid short strong cold stimuli in the frosty weather to avoid reactive heat in the joints after returning to heated rooms. Many are familiar with this phenomenon when forming snowball with their bare hands. It is cold for a short moment, afterwards the hands often become hot and red. This would increase inflammation. But very few rheumatics are really better at cool temperatures. Most have more pain, especially when there is wind and hypothermia in the affected joint regions. You should wrap the joints well. In addition, cures help in warm healing tunnels. The Gastein healing tunnel, for example, has temperatures of over 37.5 degrees and high air humidity of up to 100 percent. In these conditions, aching muscles relax. In addition, this radon heat therapy releases small amounts of radon from the mountain rock, which inhibits the activity of inflammatory cells and pain-relievers in rheumatics.

Keep moving In addition, rheumatics should exercise as much as possible, even if it is particularly difficult in winter. If you rest, you rust. Movement, on the other hand, counteracts rheumatic stiffening of the joints, prevents muscle breakdown and strengthens the bones. Strong muscles in turn relieve stressed joints. Joint-friendly sports such as swimming, aqua aerobics, dancing or walking are particularly suitable. Functional training and physiotherapy prescribed by a doctor are also easy to tackle in winter. Another benefit: exercise can reduce flare-ups, a recent study from the UK has shown.

Relaxation reduces pain In addition to exercise and warming applications, those affected often help relaxation exercises at home. Autogenic training, meditation, yoga or tai chi can be used particularly well to regain control of pain. These exercises also loosen blockages in muscles and ensure a better body feeling. (pm)

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Video: How to Better Manage Your Rheumatoid Arthritis. Access Health

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