If you suffer from arthritis and notice that it flares in the summer months, you are not alone.

If you suffer from arthritis and notice that it flares in the summer months, you are not alone.  Heat and humidity make your body more susceptible to swelling and as you well know, swelling leads to more pain.  Studies have shown that barometric pressure can also have an impact. Outside pressures changes can cause your joints to be more sensitive to pain. When the pressure changes, your joints may feel stiffer and tighter creating a never-ending cycle of pain and swelling.  However, there things you can do make your arthritis more manageable during the hot months of summer.

  1. Hydration – Some studies have found that changes in temperature actually change the fluid in your body reducing lubrication of your joints and increasing pain and inflammation. Being dehydrated only makes things worse.  Water helps keep cartilage soft and hydrated and promotes healthy blood volume, which allows nutrients to move through your blood and joints.  Therefore, staying hydrated the summer months is crucial. Monitor your water intake and include fruits and vegetables like watermelon and cucumber in your diet as they contain a lot of water.
  2. Sun Protection – One common side-effect of many non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) commonly used to treat arthritis is increased sensitivity to light. If you’re taking these medications, it’s important to take extra precautions when exposed to sun and heat.  Use lots of sunscreen, wear sunglasses, hats and protective clothing to minimize your risk.  When it comes to clothing, be sure to choose comfort over fashion.  Clothing that is too tight can increase arthritis pain.  And most importantly, be sure you are wearing comfortable, supportive shoes.
  3. Diet and Exercise – Diet and exercise are key components to the treatment of the inflammation and pain caused by arthritis. Physical activity to keep your weight at a healthy level and the consumption of anti-inflammatory foods can help control inflammation and pain in persons with arthritis. The best exercises for arthritis include range of motion exercises, strengthening exercises, and aerobic exercises. If you’ve been searching for summer activities for arthritis that will take it easy on your joints but still allow you to enjoy the great outdoors, then try these:
    • Biking
    • Golf
    • Hiking
    • Lap swimming
    • Tennis
    • Walking