Arthritis is a condition of joint inflammation. There are two types of arthritis-
- Osteo-Arthritis which is caused by the degeneration of the cartilage protecting the bone ends. When this happens, the adjoining tendons and ligaments will protect the bone but severe loss of cartilage will cause bones to rub against each other causing friction, swelling, and inflammation.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: When the immune system in the body mistakes the healthy tissues in the joints as a foreign body and attacks it, there is inflammation in the joint which is called Rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect the joints, lungs, eyes and the heart also. It is more common in old people.
Arthritis hurts more in winters because the pain receptors (nociceptors) which are a group of sensory neurons in muscles and joints become sensitive during winters.
The atmospheric pressure also drops in winter which causes the tissues to swell. This builds tension in the joints which then results in pains and inflammation.
During winters, muscles experience more spasms or contractions which worsens the pain and stiffness in the joints.
Blood circulation is reduced during winters due to thermal stress where the body has to work more to maintain the constant body temperature of 98.6°F (37°C). this type of stress makes the blood thicker, sticky and more prone to clots. Hence low blood circulation increases the body pain.
Low levels of sunlight during winters reduce Vitamin D in the body causing bones and joints to weaken which further aggravates arthritis.
Some precautions can help combat arthritis during winters such as:
- Keeping warm with woolen clothes and heat packs.
- Exercising will increase flexibility in the joints and body temperature.
- Intake of Vitamin D supplements
- Eating Omega-3 rich foods such as flaxseeds, nuts, moringa leaves/powder, fish, avocado, etc which reduce inflammation.