When it’s too hot and the temperature keeps soaring, all you want is to get relief from the heat. You pray to the rain God for a downpour. But for some people, especially those suffering arthritis, the rainy season means more joint pains. Since the humidity level rises in monsoon and people tend to skip workout, arthritis pain can get worse during the rainy season. But there are always ways to manage arthritis pain in monsoon.
Health Shots consulted Dr Sajjan Shenoy, Consultant Rheumatologist, KMC Hospital, Mangaluru, to get you some helpful tips on managing arthritis pain in monsoon.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis refers to inflammation of one or more joints, causing pain and stiffness, explains Dr Shenoy. It can affect various parts of the body like hands, fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, ankles and feet.
Arthritis pain might worsen in monsoon
Not everyone with arthritis can feel the difference, but for some, the pain can worsen during the monsoon season. Here are some of the factors:
1. Changes in atmospheric pressure, temperature and humidity levels
These changes are known to affect joint health. During monsoon, low-pressure systems can cause tissues around the joints to expand, leading to increased pressure and discomfort, says the expert. Moreover, the rise in humidity can contribute to joint stiffness and inflammation.
2. Reduced physical activity
It is natural to get a little lazy and skip outdoor activities as much as possible when it pours down. But due to limited mobility or reluctance to go outdoors in wet conditions, it might lead to muscle weakness and joint stiffness.
Ways to manage arthritis pain in monsoon
Managing arthritis pain during the monsoon season can be challenging, but there are several effective ways to alleviate discomfort. Here are some tips:
1. Maintain an exercise routine
Regular exercise is crucial for managing arthritis pain, even during the monsoon. Suggest your loved ones to go for low-impact activities such as indoor cycling or gentle stretching exercises. Dr Shenoy says exercise helps to strengthen the muscles around the joints, improve flexibility and reduce stiffness. It also promotes blood circulation, which can provide relief from pain and inflammation.
2. Maintain healthy weight
Excess weight is not good for anyone, and in case of arthritis, it puts additional strain on the joints, exacerbating arthritis pain. It becomes even more important during the monsoon season to maintain a healthy weight as reduced activity levels might lead to weight gain. Encourage your family members to follow a balanced diet which means fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains should become their friends.
3. Protect joints from moisture
Moisture can worsen arthritis symptoms, so it’s essential to protect your joints from excessive wetness during the monsoon. To keep feet dry, they can wear water-resistant or waterproof shoes. They can use an umbrella or wear a raincoat to shield their joints from rainwater. Don’t let them sit or stand in damp areas for a long time. And don’t forget to tell them to moisturize their skin to avoid dryness and cracking.
4. Apply heat and cold therapy
Hot and cold therapies can offer relief from arthritis pain. They can use warm compresses, hot water bottles, or heating pads to relax stiff joints and alleviate pain. Warm baths or showers can also provide relief, but don’t overheat the water. Alternatively, cold therapy can reduce swelling and numb the area. They can apply cold packs or wrap ice packs in a towel and gently apply them to the affected joints for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Follow medication and treatment plan
Their doctor must have already established an appropriate medication and treatment plan for you for managing arthritis pain. Make them follow the medications that have been prescribed to them, and call their doctor if you notice any changes in the symptoms. They might recommend anti-inflammatory drugs, pain relievers or other medications to control pain and inflammation. They might also suggest physical therapy or assistive devices like braces or splints to support joint function.
Even though these tips are effective, you should know that each person’s experience with arthritis is unique. So, don’t hesitate to consult with a doctor to get guidance on managing your loved one’s specific arthritis condition during the monsoon season.