If you have arthritis, you probably know that cold, dry winter weather can make your joints ache.
And as the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, you might be looking forward to spending more time outdoors and enjoying all that summer has to offer.
Unfortunately, summertime can bring its own set of challenges for people with arthritis. Heat and humidity can exacerbate arthritis symptoms for some people, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on summer fun.
Our team at Cascade Orthopaedics offers advanced arthritis care in Auburn and Bonney Lake, Washington. Here are five tips from our specialists to help you manage your arthritis and enjoy less pain this season.
Staying hydrated is important for everyone as temperatures rise in the summer, but it’s especially critical if you have arthritis. That’s because dehydration can make your joints inflamed and stiff, worsening your arthritis symptoms.
Drink plenty of water each day, especially if you’re outdoors. To make staying hydrated even easier, snack on foods with high water content, like watermelon and cucumber. When your body has enough water, your joints are more lubricated and you have less pain and stiffness.
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to reduce arthritis pain, but listen to your body to avoid overexertion. You may be tempted to spend all day outside thanks to the warm summer weather, but overdoing it can lead to pain, inflammation, and fatigue.
Instead, practice moderation while enjoying your favorite activities. Take breaks throughout the day, stay in the shade when possible, and choose activities that are gentle on your joints, like swimming, walking, and yoga.
Sun exposure increases your risk of sunburn, sun damage, and skin cancer. While it can be harmful to anyone, it can be particularly damaging if you have arthritis. That’s because certain types of arthritis and arthritis medications can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
When you’re outdoors this season, protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays. Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, a sun hat, and sunglasses to protect your skin. Avoid spending too much time in direct sunlight and seek shade as much as possible.
Mental and emotional stress can exacerbate arthritis symptoms. And while summer is often associated with relaxation, it’s also the season of travel, social events, and changes in routine — all of which contribute to higher stress levels.
To manage stress, maintain a regular routine as much as possible, even when traveling or attending social events. Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation, too.
At Cascade Orthopedics, we take a comprehensive approach to arthritis care. While we often recommend traditional treatments like medication and physical therapy, there are many alternative therapies that could also make a difference for you.
A few possible treatment options include:
If you’re interested in trying alternative therapies this summer, talk to our team to find out which ones may be safe and effective for you.
Summertime can be challenging if you’re living with arthritis, but with the right strategies in place, it can also be a time of fun and relaxation. Contact us at Cascade Orthopaedics to learn more and to schedule your next appointment.