Those who suffer from arthritis, back, and joint pain often dread winter weather. Every broken tree branch carries the reminder of the dangers of the cold, but why do we feel this way when the weather shifts into the snowy season? Physical therapists often treat injuries related to the cold, like those who slip and fall, but there are ways physical therapists can help you alleviate some of the aches from the cold as well.Outside Temps Affect Your Body
When the temperature drops, most people’s inclination is to swaddle themselves up to keep warm. This reaction is due in part to our muscles reacting to the cold – they tighten, contract, and become more rigid as a result. This in itself can cause soreness and aches in your body just due to prolonged contraction of muscles – you might not intentionally be flexing, but thanks to the cold your back, arms, or legs are getting a tiny workout.
Many people think that the reason behind our aches and pains during winter is simply the temperature itself – your body does contract and tighten in cold as opposed to warm, but it is not the only cause.
When you can “feel” weather moving in – unfortunately that does not indicate an intuitive quality, but it is 100% real. Your body can feel shifts in barometric pressure, from your muscles to your brain. It can shift the way your brain registers feelings in conjunction, so while most people joke about predicting the weather with their knee or hands, chances are they do have an ailment that is more sensitive to these changes in weather patterns and pressure. Particularly those with arthritis tend to feel these effects heavily – and generally the lower the pressure, the more painful the arthritis pains.
Pains and body issues will vary for everyone, so a specific seasonal plan can be put in place by your physical therapist to help you manage year-round depending on how severe you experience these changes. Some more common methods of managing body soreness in the winter is simply by creating heat in your body. Things like jumping rope indoors, thoroughly stretching, and keeping your body moving will certainly help warm up your muscles, but you can try different topical heating ointments, or even a heating pad to target certain areas of your body.
Not sure where to start? Contact Ken , Betty , or Colette at Zenergy to learn how you can manage this season’s ailments and put together a treatment plan to manage it long-term. If you are experiencing chronic pain or need help recovering from an injury, get in touch with Ken, Betty, or Colette at Zenergy Physical Therapy. Our highly-trained staff can assist you to get you active and feeling great again!
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Patients who have been diagnosed with type II diabetes require serious intervention to help them control their blood sugar. While medication can certainly help, lifestyle changes – specifically, diet and exercise – are essential to good blood sugar control.
Unfortunately, by the time many patients are diagnosed with type II diabetes, they have already developed medical conditions that can make exercise difficult. They may be obese, have begun to develop or have already developed full-blown diabetic neuropathy, or have developed metabolic syndrome, for example. Because of that, it may be neither safe nor effective to expect patients to begin to undertake exercise on their own. This is where physical therapy can help with diabetes management.
Physical therapists work with diabetic patients frequently, so they are experienced in handling any difficulties and concerns patients may have that might otherwise keep them from exercising. Because they are so familiar with diabetes management through exercise, they can foresee and circumvent just about any problem that may arise when they construct patients' fitness programs, thus making physical therapy even more effective and preventing injury.
Benefits of using physical therapy for diabetes management
Kenneth Mauck, MPT, MS , Manual Therapy Expert