Advice for Cold Weather Days: Stay Active
Cold temperatures recently have been a real pain for many Four Staters. Physical therapists say they’ve seen more people complaining about aches in joints. Doctors say exercise can help, especially for the elderly and those who’ve had surgery.
Here’s some meaning behind that cold, frigid feeling:
“It meant pain,” says Marie Lawson.
Lawson needs a hip replacement.
“If it’s really cold, it’s like shooting pains,” says Louella Helton.
Helton has had both shoulders and both hips replaced.
“Something that maybe has been a mild pain becomes a more moderate or severe pain,” says Kurt Stork, a physical therapist at Ortho Four States.
“You can live with it. It’s just annoying,” says Helton.
“I really couldn’t go up and down stairs. Doing my housework, it was an effort,” says Lawson.
“That may be the barometric changes,” says Stork. “The joint has a capsule around it, and there’s fluid inside that capsule. So there’s a pressure gradient there.”
When it gets cold outside, many people want to put on heavy jackets, gloves, and cover their head; stay stationary a lot of times. But physical therapists say one of the keys of getting through this colder weather is staying active.
“You can have injuries and trauma to tissues,” says Stork.
After those injuries and traumas to tissues and joints…
“Trying to strengthen them,” says Helton.
“We know that movement heals,” says Stork.
Helton and Lawson are going through physical therapy. Those cold weather aches may have met their match.
Lawson, “In fact, one of the questions they ask on a survey is, if your house was on fire, would you be able to run out? Well yes, I’m now able to run out!”
Conditioning the body, cold weather or not, is important.
“If you have good muscular control around your knee joint or hip joint, then you’re much more likely to not have as much pain,” says Stork.
“It has been my answer,” says Lawson.
It’s making it easier for Lawson and Helton to walk towards spring and summer.
Doctors say physical therapy is often the most effective way of dealing with aches and pains, rather than just taking pain pills.