Winters are around the corner, bringing relief from the scorching hot summers and leading towards this year’s festive season. The festive season starts with Dusshera & Diwali and continues till Christmas & New Year’s Eve. Most people have various events and activities to plan during this time which requires a lot of recreational work like cleaning the house, office, new decoration, etc. All these activities require a lot of physical work like lifting heavy bags, moving furniture, continuously moving upstairs and downstairs, etc. All these strenuous activities most of the times result in physical stress and end up in chronic aches and pains. These activities also make people prone to muscle injuries, joint pains, and physical wear and tear. Most people ignore the initial symptoms which result in chronic pain and injuries sometimes resulting in minor or major surgeries.

Orthocure Clinics provides a range of services in physiotherapy which not only answers to most of these problems but also advice on how to avoid such physical stress in day to day basis.  Our Physical Therapist Dr. Meenal Sharma talks about how cold weather impacts your joints and muscle pain and how to address it on a day to day basis. A snapshot of the interview with Dr. Meenal Sharma is provided below:

 

Is it common to feel aches and pains?

Dr. Meenal Sharma- First of all, to address aches and pain we need to focus more on the causes of such pains. One of the major causes of such pains is the wrong posture for carrying out day to day activity. Most of the people in winters are packed with a lot of woolen clothes and they tend to clench themselves to preserve heat. However it is important to preserve the heat but

on the other hand, most people don’t understand that with a lot of clothes, people also need to correct their posture for day to day activity. In general, we observe people in winter hunched, shoulder raised, forward head, chin jotting, which results in the tightening of muscles, leading to cramps and pain. With the cold weather kicking in people also get a bit lazy and forget to undertake their regular exercises, leading to increased inactiveness. Aches and Pains only hit people who are more sedentary and don’t carry a good posture.

 

 

 

How does this occur?

Dr. Meenal Sharma- In winters, our joints have less elasticity and the blood supply to our muscles is also less than regular because of the cold environment overall. Besides, inactiveness adds on to muscular weakness and poor posture. To address this we have to keep our body warm and bring a regular movement of joints so that blood supply can be improved. Also, we need to regularly stretch our body and do exercises- both flexibility and strength training.

 Can winters results in weakness of muscles?

Dr. Meenal Sharma – Definitely YES!! But not because of its cold weather, although it is due to increased inactiveness resulting in muscle weakening. The more the movement of the muscle/joints the less will be the problems!! So the idea is to KEEP MOVING!

 

What type of exercises are helpful?

Dr. Meenal Sharma – Staying active in general is helpful. The problem is when it aches we tend to avoid exercises and move as little as possible. But you can avoid it by exercising. You can do any form of exercise which can be as simple as

 

  • Going for a regular WALK,
  • Taking staircases most of the times,
  • Doing some YOGA especially at night which can ease aches and pains and help you sleep better and in general, It is gentle and relaxing.
  • Be sure to STRETCH. Stretches are good to keep you warmed up. Now its time to recall the winter posture which I talked about previously! We have to just do the opposite of that in our stretch regime. A SIMPLE TECHNIQUE- Pulling your body up, lengthening your back, pulling belly muscles in, squeezing your shoulder blades a little bit together to try and maintain better posture. Be in each position for some time and it results in stretching as well!
  • STRENGTH training has to be done 3 times a week to keep your muscles strong. In the winters when the world is hibernating our bodies still have to be ACTIVE. The stronger your body is the healthier it will be and more likely you will overcome winter aches and pains.
  • General mobility Exercises like pumping of ankle and foot, squeezing of hands and making a fist and opening It for better circulation.
  • DRINK more of lukewarm water.
  • Do HOT FOMENTATION twice a day or even can have a bath with Epsom salt hot water to rush that blood flow and soothe your muscles and joints.
  • In case of any swelling still, COLD PACKS are applicable.
  • EAT LIGHT but some days can be cheat days too! You can have chocolates, cakes, watch Netflix, sit back and enjoy winters too!!
  • If you want to stick to an exercise program that boosts strength, increases flexibility and gives you a cardio workout, you can’t beat SWIMMING. It’s easy on your joints and limbs and gives you a full-body workout and stretches out your body relieving aches and pains.

 

Do I need to see a Doctor?

Dr. Meenal Sharma – Do try exercising for at least 15-20 days and be active. If these home remedies aren’t helping and the pain persists, then don’t confuse it with normal winter aches and pain and SPEAK TO YOUR DOCTOR.

 

 

Dr. Meenal Sharma

Physiotherapy Head and Senior Spine Therapist

BPT, MPT, CDNT, CKTT, FOMT, COMT