Arthritis flare-ups are tricky on their own; but when paired with the cruel, unforgiving cold weather of winter, they can be especially excruciating. When getting to your rheumatologist is inconvenient or impossible, our M.D. Express Urgent Care team advises specific home therapies, a positive attitude and some tips and tricks to make treating your arthritis at home a more comfortable experience.

Heat and Cold Therapy

Depending on your type of arthritis, heat or cold therapy could be right for you. The Arthritis Foundation suggests that if you have osteoarthritis, you try heat to loosen your joints; but if you have rheumatoid arthritis, you try cold packs to constrict your blood vessels to prevent further swelling.

You Are What You Eat

Certain foods are known for their healing benefits; and changing your diet to ease pain doesn’t have to hurt your budget. For an easy meal that reduces inflammation and reduces symptoms, try:

  • Citrus fruit

  • Green vegetables

  • Cooked fish

Fighting inflammation with healthy food as much as possible, rather than relying solely on anti-inflammatory medications, should also reward you with a more peaceful stomach lining.

Get Moving

Exercise benefits everyone! Mind-body health may be the New Year’s resolutions for some, but especially patients with weak joints. Exercise (walking, swimming, etc.) strengthens the muscles around your joints, giving them a supportive framework. The American College of Rheumatology suggests before starting any exercise plan that you secure your physician’s approval and set realistic goals.

Count Sheep to Get Some Sleep

Recent studies show that patients with arthritis accrue fewer hours of quality sleep each night. This is mostly due to:

  • Pain

  • Medication side effects

  • Too many daytime naps

Accordingly, experts recommend reducing your naps, switching off the TV or computer at least half an hour before turning off your lights for bed and resisting the temptation to eat anything too big or too bad before bedtime.

Our doctors and nurses at M.D. Express Urgent Care know that it takes extra discipline when suffering from chronic pain to self-regulate one’s eating, exercise and relaxation time. However, we offer these tips in hopes this winter will be a little easier if you maintain a proactive stance toward managing your chronic arthritis. If you incorporate these good habits into your daily life, arthritis flare-ups have a greatly reduced likelihood of managing you.

At each of our five Hampton Roads locations, M.D. Express Urgent Care always has a doctor on-site to care for you and yours should you experience any minor winter emergencies. Please visit us at M.D. Express, the Peninsula’s largest provider of urgent care services, where the Doctor is Always In!