Get Your Joints Ready for Summer
Cold weather can be notoriously harsh on the joints. If you have ever experienced an arthritis flareup on a particularly cold day, you can probably relate.
But surprisingly, hot temperatures can have just as much of an impact on joints. As we quickly approach summer, here’s what you need to know to get your joints ready for the heat and humidity.
Joint Anatomy 101
To understand how and why weather can affect the joints, it’s important to understand their anatomy.
Unlike the rest of the body, our joints are unique in that they have no direct blood supply. Instead, joints contain a gel-like substance called synovial fluid. Not only does synovial fluid deliver beneficial nutrients to the joints, it also provides lubrication and shock absorption.
High temperatures and humidity can change the consistency of synovial fluid. This can cause the joints to become inflamed, stiff, and painful. Increased pressure and humidity can also affect the expansion and contraction of joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons, triggering pain.
What Causes Joint Pain?
While no definitive science can confirm that weather patterns cause joint pain or arthritis symptom flareups, some studies have found a link between humidity and joint pain.
In one study of 133 participants with rheumatoid arthritis, researchers noted a significant association between high humidity and symptom severity.1
Another study included 810 people with osteoarthritis of the knee, hand, and/or hip. Researchers found significant links between joint pain and increased humidity.2
Other factors that can lead to joint pain in hotter, more humid months include:
How To Relieve Joint Pain This Summer?
There are several important things you can for joint relief during the hot and humid months of summer.
Stay hydrated. This is truly one of the simplest and most impactful things you can do to support your joints and relieve pain. Drinking plenty of water will help improve lubrication in your joints and cut down on friction that can lead to joint inflammation and pain. And speaking of inflammation, adequate hydration also flushes toxins out of the body and reduces swelling—both factors that exacerbate joint pain.
Stay active. Movement and exercise prevent stiffness and help move synovial fluid in and out of the joints. Even a walk around the block has major benefits. If the heat or humidity really bothers you, try swimming or doing an indoor workout. Swimming is particularly beneficial as it’s low impact and the buoyancy provides relieves pressure on the joints.
Take joint supportive supplements. The following supplements support your joints by providing the raw materials that joints need to rebuild cartilage, or stop the breakdown of cartilage. The long-term result is less pain and healthier joints. Start now, before the summer kicks into full gear, to experience the full benefit once it really gets hot.
- Curcumin, the medicinal component in the herb turmeric, is not only a powerful anti-inflammatory, it prevents the breakdown of joint cartilage.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin are the “gold standard” combination when it comes to joint repair. Glucosamine sulfate helps boost the production glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), the building blocks of joint cartilage. Chondroitin sulfate works much the same way, but it has the added benefit of putting a stop to the enzymes that degrade cartilage.
- MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a naturally occurring sulfur compound and a component of connective tissue. It can improve pain, mobility, and inflammation.
- Boswellia (also known as Indian Frankincense) is an herbal extract that can alleviate joint inflammation related to arthritis. It also has been shown to improve pain and function within as little as five days.
- Collagen gives joint cartilage its strength and integrity. With age, collagen starts to break down and weaken, leading to arthritis and joint pain. One of the cheapest and easiest ways to boost collagen around your joints is to make your own bone broth using animal bones and crustacean/egg shells.
These dinner scraps happen to be some of the best sources of collagen, various amino acids, and hyaluronic acid. Making homemade bone broth could not be any easier. Simply place the bones and shells in a pot and cover with water. Add one to two tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar of your choice for every quart of water. Simmer for up to 12 hours, then cool and strain the liquid.
Best Supplement For Joint Pain
An alternative to bone broth is a supplement called UC-II (undenatured type II collagen), which is derived from chicken bones. A solid body of research reveals that it can rebuild cartilage, relieve arthritic pain, improve mobility and extension, and enhance quality of life.
You can find these joint-supportive nutrients and others online and at most health food stores. Newport Natural Health includes curcumin and UC-II collagen in its Joint Renewal formula. And Joint Renewal Plus has added white willow bark—Mother Nature’s version of aspirin. White willow bark relieves pain and reduces joint inflammation.
Remember, there’s nothing you can do about the weather, but there’s plenty you can do to relieve joint pain and arthritis. The safe, effective, drug-free options mentioned here can keep you pain free, limber, and active this summer…and all year round.
- Savage EM, et al. Does rheumatoid arthritis disease activity correlate with weather conditions? Rheumatol Int. 2015 May;35(5):887-90.
- Timmermans E, et al. The influence of weather conditions on joint pain in older people with osteoarthritis: Results from the European Project on Osteoarthritis. J Rheumatol. 2015 Oct;42(10):1885-92.