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Many of us seem to suffer with stiffness and aching during the colder months, particularly if we have ‘wear and tear’ (also known as osteoarthritis) in our joints.

Osteoarthritis is not reversible but there are many ways to manage joint stiffness, discomfort and pain .

We’ve collected together the best tips and advice from our team of therapists and compiled them for you.

Sarah says “moist heat is often very soothing for aching joints.  A simple compress of a cloth run under a hot tap and applied to your joint for 15-20 minutes should give temporary relief”.   Jane adds to try a warm bath or compress with up to 6 drops total of essential oils such as Sweet Marjoram, Ginger, Lemon, Roman Chamomile, German Chamomile, Juniper berry, Black Pepper, Lavender, Turmeric, Yarrow.

“You could also try a cabbage poultice.”

“It’s also important to wrap up warm in cold weather.  Several layers will keep you cosy.”

Your diet is also important in the management of arthritic pain.

Several of our therapists suggested using turmeric and ginger for their anti-inflammatory properties.   Sue also suggested using  curcumin.  Curcumin is a component of turmeric and is available in capsules, as an extract and as a spice.

Catherine has kindly shared a long list of anti-inflammatory foods which  she recommends you eat every day.

  • Almonds
  • Green tea
  • Avocado
  • Cauliflower
  • Beetroot
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Berries
  • Flaxseeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Oily fish
  • Olives
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Walnuts
  • Coconut oil
 
Catherine also recommends good quality fats from the following sources:
  • ‘SMASH’ fish (sardines, salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring). This could be a portion of fresh fish or a tin. Oily fish contains omega 3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory.
    • Nuts and seeds (walnuts, sesame, pumpkin, almonds, flaxseed, chia)
    • Cooking fats (coconut oil, organic cold pressed olive oil, butter)
    • Avocado
 
In addition to this, try to reduce sugar and eat a rainbow coloured selection of vegetables and fruits.
 
A variety of supplements are thought to help with arthritic pain, including rosehip, chondroitin, glucosamine and M.S.M.
 
 
 
Jane has had some positive results using aromatherapy massage for sufferers of joint pain, and certainly many arthritis sufferers benefit from gentle manual therapy.
 
Manual Lymph Drainage has anti-inflammatory effects and is very gentle too.

It’s important to keep moving arthritic joints.  If you remain still your joints are likely to become stiffer and more uncomfortable.  Gentle exercise is very important.  We recommend walking if possible but you may also enjoy non weight bearing exercise such as swimming or cycling.
 
 
 
Low vitamin D can contribute to muscle and joint aches.  A blood test from your GP can confirm if you are deficient in vitamin D.  It is easy to remedy with vitamin D supplements – Public Health England suggests 10 micrograms a day from September to March.  When warmer weather arrives try to get plenty of time in the sun (but don’t get sunburn!), as your skin synthesises vitamin D from sunlight. 
 
 
If you are in a lot of discomfort please speak to GP about suitable painkillers and other options for managing your pain levels. 
 
For more information on osteoarthritis we recommend Versus Arthritis.
How to manage arthritic joint pain during winter