Cold Weather, Stiff Joints
Cold weather, holiday stress and seasonal changes aggravate inflammation for arthritis patients. And although there is no changing the weather, arthritis-specific exercises and therapies can help relieve the pain.
Some senior centers and fitness clubs offer arthritis-specific classes for sufferers, like the one held Nov. 20 at Twin Falls, Idaho's city pool. Participant Fran Kittridge of Twin Falls said the water aerobics helps her with arthritis as well as peripheral neuropathy and balance issues related to diabetes.
"Not only do we have the water, but we have camaraderie with the people there,"Kittridge said.
Classmates Rosie Bedwell and Minerva Benavides agreed. When Benavides stopped taking water aerobics classes on an extended trip to Texas, her symptoms were much worse.
"I really missed it,"she said.
In addition to exercising, Bedwell avoids stress, which can cause arthritis flares.
"I have learned in my old age to just let it happen and just keep on moving,"Bedwell said.
Kristin Biggins, a certified hand therapist at St. Luke's Idaho Elks Rehabilitation Services in Ketchum, said cold weather aggravates anyone's joints. Coupled with arthritis inflammation, that cold weather means a lot of suffering for some patients. Mornings are often the worst, as people don't move during the night.