8 Holistic Tips for Managing Chronic Pain in Winter

February 11th, 2022

By Mia Barnes

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

If you have chronic pain, you might have more cause for the winter blues than most. Frigid arctic air can amplify every ache until you’re in agony.

Fortunately, making minor adjustments to your routine can improve your overall vitality and well-being. Here are eight holistic tips for managing chronic pain in wintertime.

1. Add Turmeric (and Pepper) to Your Morning Brew

Plants have the power to heal, and you don’t have to alter your routine much to reap the benefits. It doesn’t matter if you prefer coffee or tea in your eye-opening cup. Adding a touch of turmeric and black pepper to your brew can ease chronic pain on the chilliest winter days.

Why? One way to ease chronic pain is by addressing inflammation. Turmeric contains curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory agent, and the piperine in black pepper increases the bioavailability of this substance by 2,000%. Best of all, the two together add an exotic chai twist to your cuppa.

Keeping a few turmeric tea bags handy can help throughout the day. Most herbal preparations contain no caffeine, and sipping the warm liquid knocks off the chill that increases pain in the winter. Even holding the warm mug in your hands can assuage minor arthritis aches.

2. Stretch Throughout the Day

Think back to Chemistry 101. You might remember that cold causes molecules to contract, including those in your body. When your muscles get too tight, they can spasm, causing considerable pain.

The antidote? Stretch throughout the day. Set a timer on your phone to get up and move every 30 minutes to an hour. Perform a sun salutation or two, jog in place, or do a few twists — anything to loosen up your muscles and increase circulation.

3. Keep Toasty

If you have arthritis, you might notice that your hands ache more in the winter. Carrying a bag to the garbage without gloves can prove excruciating.

Keep nice and toasty. Invest in plenty of warm clothing and perhaps a space heater for your desk if the thermostat wars in your workplace tend to be won by the cold-loving set. You can find thin, specially designed arthritis gloves that let your fingers fly over your keyboard even when the room gets a bit chilly.

4. Adopt an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Inflammation increases chronic pain regardless of the underlying cause. Everything you put in your body affects its chemistry, including food. Following the principles of an anti-inflammatory diet could ease your symptoms:

  • Do: Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. These contain various antioxidants and phytonutrients that your body needs to function at its peak. Strive to consume a rainbow, as various colors indicate different nutritional content.
  • Do: Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, chia, and flax seeds.
  • Do: Eat fiber-rich foods like beans and whole grains.
  • Don’t: Consume overly processed foods laden with sugar and white flour. These cause rapid blood sugar spikes that can increase overall inflammation.
  • Don’t: Consume unhealthy oils like trans fats. Your healthiest bets are olive oil and avocado oil.
  • Don’t: Go overboard on alcohol. While it may temporarily numb pain, it increases overall inflammation and makes you feel worse when you get sober.

5. Try Acupuncture

Eastern minds believe acupuncture works by stimulating chi, or the vital energy in the body. Western scientists conjecture that the needles stimulate nerve endings, affecting your response to pain.

Regardless of the mechanism, many patients experience significant relief. The needles are tiny — you barely feel the injection. Some insurance companies now cover this treatment modality. Check with your carrier to see.

6. Indulge in a Massage

Massage eases chronic pain by relieving muscle spasms. It also feels heavenly. Indulging in self-care is a healthy way to relieve the stress that can compound physical symptoms.

Getting a professional treatment can set you back a considerable sum. However, you can invest in various massage tools to DIY or work with your partner to master effective techniques to use on one another.

7. Soak in a Hot Bath

Few things feel better than sinking into a hot bath. The warmth of the liquid alone eases minor aches by loosening muscle spasms.

You can make your time in the water even more effective by adding Epsom salts. These consist of magnesium, a mineral noted for its relaxing properties. Another idea is taking a tea bath. You can brew a pot or add the bags right to your water to soak in the curative effects of lavender and chamomile.

8. Meditate

Your mind and your body share an immutable link. Research indicates that meditation can help ease chronic pain, calming the nerve signals that shout “ouch” in your brain.

You can practice anywhere you can sit quietly and draw awareness to your breath. Learn to do a mindful body scan, starting at your toes and pausing to breathe relaxation into any tight or tense areas. If you have trouble getting started, you can find meditations designed for easing pain for free on YouTube.

Holistic Tips for Managing Chronic Pain in Winter

Cold weather increases aches, and your perception of them might grow sharper as the snowy season drags on. Fortunately, making simple alterations to your daily routine can decrease your agony. Try the eight holistic tips above for managing chronic pain in winter.

About the author:


Mia Barnes is an online journalist and Editor in Chief at Body + Mind.

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