Golden autumn is a great time to fully enjoy the last warm days. But, unfortunately, the transition from the summer heat to autumnal cold and rain is not always gradual. And if the weather conditions change very dramatically, in terms of well-being for many people this does not go unnoticed.
In the autumn, many diseases are exacerbated: from asthma and peptic ulcer disease to rheumatism. Seasonal pain affects people of different ages and with different health conditions. But most often in the fall complain of joint pain. Why is this happening and how can seasonal ailments be explained?
Autumn and joint pain: what is the relationship
Many people can predict the weather, such as rain, better than most meteorological services. For some, the harbinger of worsening weather is pain in the elbow or knee, for others - “twisting” of the wrist or finger joints. Pain is manifested in different people in different ways.
The nature of autumn pain in the joints was studied by Hippocrates. But neither in ancient times nor today it is not reliably known why the harbingers of weather deterioration are so painful for humans. Many scientists refuse to recognize the direct connection between the change of seasons and the exacerbation of sores. However, most patients report a deterioration in their health condition in the fall. Pain can occur in any joint, but most often the knees, hips, or ankles ache. That is just those parts of the musculoskeletal system, which account for the largest load.
However, and this should also be admitted, perfectly healthy joints do not hurt even in the fall. If discomfort arises, then old injuries or chronic diseases tend to remind of themselves.
According to one theory, the pain in the joints and the tissues around them can cause sudden changes in atmospheric pressure (which actually happens in the fall). Researchers suggest that changes in barometric pressure can trigger inflammatory reactions in the joints. Because of them, the blood circulation in this area is disturbed and the sensitivity of nerve endings increases, and as a result, pain appears. Sometimes very strong.
The second possible reason why the joints hurt in the fall is cold. Rheumatic pains are exacerbated after each freeze. Conversely, warmth and warming bring relief and eliminate symptoms. The fact is that when we freeze, the body primarily "warms" the vital organs - the heart and lungs, so the most intense blood flows are directed specifically to these organs, and the joints have to wait. Until the blood flow to the bones is resumed, under the influence of cold, the soft tissues surrounding the joint are narrowed. We are talking about muscles, ligaments and joint capsules. As a result of such changes, there is a feeling of stiffness and friction in the joints. But what is important, the matter is not limited to unpleasant feelings. In the cold, more than ever, the risk of damage to the articular cartilage increases. Conversely, maintaining the tissues and muscles at an optimal temperature prevents joint compression and wear. In addition, the lack of a sufficient amount of sun leads to weakening of the bones. In the fall and winter, the synthesis of vitamin D, which is responsible for the strength and mineralization of bone tissue, deteriorates.
Seasonal allergies and knee pain
Many do not even realize, but sometimes the pain that affects the joints, is nothing else, as one of the manifestations of allergy, which also tends to worsen in the autumn period. Triggers of food allergy, and with it, pain in the knees or elbows, are products that contain the following components:
- sugar (activates the production of cytokines in the body, which contribute to inflammatory processes);
- saturated fats (cause inflammation in fatty tissues);
- trans fats (provoke systemic inflammation in the body);
- omega-6 fatty acids (their excess leads to the progression of arthritis);
- refined carbohydrates (activates the production of substances that increase inflammatory processes, including in the joints);
- alcohol (alcohol abuse also intensifies all sorts of inflammation).
In the autumn period, people suffering from arthritis or seasonal pain in the joints, it is better to refrain from the use of products containing the listed components. It is possible that the cause of indisposition can be a food factor.
How to relieve and prevent autumn joint pain
It is not necessary to have rheumatism or arthritis in order to react with joint pain to weather changes. Many anticipate cooling and rains characteristic soreness and aching pains in the knees or elbows. Often, it is impossible to completely get rid of this type of meteosensitivity, but there are some tricks that can help you feel better.
Take care of the right clothes. This is the first and most important rule. In most cases, it is inappropriate for the weather dress leads to hypothermia and, consequently, to pain in the joints. Nowadays, you can easily find fashionable and at the same time very warm clothes. Even the most fastidious of us, if desired, can always find something cushy and stylish. Nowadays, there is no need to choose between clothes that are beautiful or warm.
If you are going on a long trip or a long walk in cool weather, be sure to take a thermos with hot tea. The drink quickly warms the whole body, including the joints.
Enrich the autumn diet with substances that help strengthen cartilage and bones. For example, collagen hydrochloride and glucosamine promote joint regeneration, improve their condition, strengthen the tendons and ligaments. The most available source of collagen is all food that contains gelatin, including cold jellies and jelly sweets. Glucosamine is present in beef, poultry, red fish and seafood, as well as in some varieties of cheese. Also, these substances are part of various supplements from the sports nutrition group.
Vitamin D is another indispensable component in the fall. In late autumn, when the sun is weakly active and it rains more often, it is helpful to take the vitamin in the form of dietary supplements.
In addition, in October-November it is often useful to eat broccoli, beets, fennel, kohlrabi, carrots, leeks, parsley, celery, spinach, Brussels sprouts, chicory. These products are not just rich in substances that strengthen the immune system. They contain components that support joint health in the autumn. It is also useful for people who have “knee” in the fall to pay attention to pears, apples, quince, plums, figs (especially dried), persimmon and papaya, which are a real treasure trove of cartilage-friendly components. And of course, on the eve of winter, it is very important to eat fatty sea fish such as cod, halibut, mackerel as often as possible. The fat contained in them is a good “lubricant” for the joints. But at the same time it is better to avoid fish in the form of canned food - they may contain substances that contribute to the exacerbation of inflammatory processes.
Exercise in spite of pain. Proper exercise helps maintain healthy joints and strengthens muscles (strong muscles take over the load from the joints). Physical activity also improves the overall condition of the body, which is crucial in rheumatic diseases. In addition, any movement contributes to changes in pressure inside the joint, and this prevents the development of more serious diseases of the musculoskeletal system. The best exercises for the skeleton, according to rheumatologists, are swimming, walking and cycling.
Drink plenty of fluids. The lack of moisture affects the state of the synovial membrane of the joints (it covers the surface of all joints and ligaments). When the body is dehydrated, the lubricant dries up in the joints, which also causes pain.
Maintain a stable body weight. With an increase in body weight, the load on the joints increases, they begin to ache. Proper diet and an active lifestyle - the best prevention of obesity and pain in the knees.
Get some rest! In addition to sports and physical activity, the body needs adequate rest. Without it, our body loses the ability to restore its strength. In this regard, nightlife is very important. Make sure your sleep lasts at least 8 hours.
Take a course of massage. When pain in the knees gives a good effect massage. Manual therapy improves blood circulation and helps relieve pain in various types of arthritis and other ailments of the musculoskeletal system. Even the usual light stroking of a joint improves blood flow, warms it up and relieves tension in the diseased area.
Take painkillers. If the pain is very severe, then it is possible to take an anti-inflammatory nonsteroid agent based on ibuprofen, diclofenac, ketoprofen, naproxen or salicylic acid in the form of a tablet, ointment or suppository.
Although researchers today do not have an exact answer, why sores of joints become worse in autumn, but thousands of people around the planet are wary of the beginning of September. For them, this means that seasonal attacks in the knees, elbows, and shoulders will begin soon. If you also belong to this huge group of people sensitive to changes in nature, then do not forget to prepare in advance for the cold season. Revise your diet, get warm things, enjoy your favorite sport and let this fall for you pass without pain and activity restrictions.