How To Reduce Or Relieve Seasonal Joint Pain

If your joints start aching in protest to the cold weather outside, you’re certainly not alone.

It’s a problem millions of people around the world deal with. There’s no single explanation for this, but there are lots of theories.

Surprisingly, it’s an area where science hasn’t fully answered the question.

One theory is that the drop in barometric pressure causes tendons and muscles, and the tissues surrounding them to expand.  Given the confines of your body, this leads to tension and stiffness or soreness.

There’s certainly evidence to back this up, and since everyone responds to pressure changes differently, it explains why not everyone is equally impacted.  In fact, if you have arthritis, you’re probably more sensitive to such changes, which means that your arthritis is likely to “act up” when the weather starts turning chilly.

It’s normally not something that’s serious enough to consult your doctor about. However, if the pain is new, unexpected, or unusually severe, don’t let it wait.  See your doctor right away to see if there’s something that can be done to help alleviate the pain.

In most cases, you can avoid the worst of it by doing a few things like:

  • Dressing appropriately for the colder weather and if you know you’re especially susceptible to wintertime aches and pains, add an additional layer of clothing for a bit of added warmth.
  • Begin every day with a period of low intensity stretching to limber up for the activity ahead.
  • Be more mindful of what you’re doing and how it’s affecting your body so as not to overtax your joints in the cold weather.
  • Treat yourself to periodic heat treatments to offset the cold and soothe your aches and pains. Your heating pad may become your new best friend during the winter months.

If you follow those simple tips, odds are you’ll be able to manage your aches and pain on your own.

 The Main Causes Of Muscle Cramps

Ahh, muscle cramps.  We’ve all experienced them at one point or another, but what causes them?  In this piece, we’ll take a closer look at that very question! In simplest form, a muscle cramp is nothing more than an involuntary contraction of one of the muscles in your body.

They’re generally harmless, although when they’re happening, it certainly might not feel like it! Some of the more painful cramps are called Charlie horses. In fact, when a muscle cramp strikes, it may stop you in your tracks or leave you hopping around your house muttering a string of colorful language as you try to massage the pain away or “walk it off.”

Over-use of one or more of your muscles is the primary cause of muscle cramps.  If you exercise too strenuously or hold the same position for an extended period, the strain on the muscle group in question can easily cause a muscle cramp.

Other common causes of muscle cramps include:

  • Mineral Depletion – Specifically, if your body is deficient in magnesium, calcium or potassium, it makes you much more likely to suffer from muscle cramps. If you take certain medications you may be more prone to this as they can deplete these minerals from your body. Another cause may be an iron deficiency. This can cause muscle cramps, headaches, restless legs, and much more.  Here, simple changes to your diet or taking nutritional supplements can help. Ask your doctor to test your blood for deficiencies.
  • Nerve Compression – If nerves in your spine become compressed, it can lead to cramping pains in your legs that typically worsen the longer you move about. In this case, a visit to your local chiropractor can help. If you can’t get to your chiropractor’s office right away, walking in a slightly flexed position as though you were pushing a shopping cart can help mitigate your pain until you can get an appointment.
  • Insufficient Blood Flow – If the arteries in your legs have narrowed (a condition called arteriosclerosis) it can produce cramping when you walk and especially when you’re working out. Fortunately, cramping caused by this condition tends to ease up not long after you stop exercising.

Again, in most cases, muscle cramps are nothing to get alarmed about, unless they become so severe that they prevent you from performing your normal daily activities.  If things start moving in that direction, you should make an appointment with your doctor and you chiropractor right away.


Four Reasons You May Still Feel Tired When You Wake Up

If you wake up feeling as though you didn’t get any rest at all, you’re not alone.  Most American adults are sleep deprived and  the quality of our sleep is generally poor.  There are a few factors contributing to this, but the good news is that the reasons you wake up tired are fixable.

Here are the main reasons you don’t feel well rested when you wake up:

  • Your mattress isn’t supportive enough. Studies have shown that a medium-firm mattress is your best bet, and if you have anything other than that, it’s likely contributing to your sleep problems.  The age of your mattress is also a contributing factor.  Again the newer your mattress is, the fewer aches and pains you’re likely to have, which translates directly into a better night’s sleep.
  • Your mattress might be dirty. It may be home to a motley collection of dust, pet dander, pollen and other allergens which can clog your nose at night and lead to nighttime coughing and sneezing, even if you don’t suffer from significant allergy problems.
  • Your bedroom is too hot or too cold. Studies have shown that the optimal temperature band for a good night’s sleep ranges between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.  If the temperature of your bedroom is outside that band, the quality of your sleep is likely to be suboptimal.
  • You don’t have an established routine or bedtime. Routine matters.  If you commit to the idea of going to bed at the same time every night, it will psychologically prepare you for sleep, and the quality of your sleep will improve.

Getting a better night’s sleep isn’t rocket science, and if you address the issues described above, you’ll go a long way toward improving the quality of your sleep. That will make you healthier, happier, and more productive.

Can Applied Pressure Help The Body?

Applied pressure is also called acupressure.

You may have heard a friend or neighbor talking about it and wondered if it really works or if it’s all just a bunch of hype.

It’s a good, and totally fair question.

Unfortunately, there has been very little research done on the benefits of acupressure treatments.

Nonetheless, the practice has a long history in traditional Chinese medicine, and many people who have tried it have reported that it does help to ease various aches and pains.  On that basis alone, it might be worth investigating at least to see if you personally find it helpful or beneficial.

The basic idea behind it goes something like this:  The body has a dozen “major meridians” that connect to specific organs and networks of organs.  By massaging and applying pressure to these meridians, a variety of symptoms can be alleviated.

As to what to expect if you decide to give it a go, a typical acupressure session lasts about an hour. You’ll be fully clothed, lying on a massage table.  A specialist will come in and begin applying pressure to your twelve meridians via fingers, palms, elbows or feet.  Occasionally, other massage devices will be used as well.  You may also be gently stretched, depending on the practitioner.

One thing to bear in mind is this:  Just like a single visit to your local chiropractor won’t miraculously cure what ails you, it may take several acupressure visits to start seeing good results. So, don’t be discouraged if after one session you don’t really feel much of a difference.

The bottom line though, is this:  Giving acupressure a try certainly won’t hurt you, and if it helps you feel better, then ultimately that’s a good thing.  If you’ve tried other forms of treatments for the aches and pains you’re feeling and they’re not getting it done, there’s certainly no harm in giving acupressure a try.