The holidays bring social gatherings, cold weather and, for some, joint pain. Living with joint pain can be especially challenging during the holidays, as increased stress and activity levels can cause flare-ups. The body's inflammatory response system kicks in, causing pain and stiffness in the joints that can last indefinitely.
While having stress-free celebrations may seem impossible, taking certain steps can help you manage the holidays and joint pain.
Your activity level will likely increase around the holidays. With lots of shopping to do and parties to attend, it's easy to overextend and exhaust yourself. Limiting your activities and scheduling time to rest and recover are crucial.
Long-distance travel by car, plane, train or other means can be tough on your joints. Extended periods of sitting can lead to stiffness and pain. If possible, incorporate time to stand up, stretch and move around periodically. You can also try seated exercises like marches and shoulder rolls to help with stiffness.
While holiday preparations and celebrations may fill up your schedule, finding time to exercise is essential to managing joint pain. Regular exercise can increase joint mobility and reduce pain in people with knee or hip osteoarthritis.
It can be challenging to maintain a balanced diet with so much holiday food. Certain foods or beverages may increase inflammation and exacerbate joint pain. For example, cheese, wine, beer and organ meat have high uric acid levels that can cause gout. Avoiding these foods can help prevent joint pain flare-ups.
People juggle many responsibilities during the holidays, from buying gifts to attending parties to cooking for family and friends. Being stressed out and tired from tackling so many tasks can trigger joint pain.
If you're feeling overwhelmed, try different relaxation techniques. Practicing meditation, yoga and mindfulness can help you deal with holiday stressors and reduce your joint pain.
Contact Elite Sports Medicine and Orthopedics for treatment if you live in the Nashville, Tennessee, area and experience persistent shoulder, hip or knee pain during the holidays. Our board-certified specialists are highly skilled and experienced in treating joint pain. We'll determine the best plan to meet your specific needs.