As much as we look forward to sunny days, summer’s heat and humidity can cause noticeable swelling in the joints: Up to 66 percent of us report feeling achy in the summer. Fortunately, you don’t need powerful meds to tame discomfort. Experts say these simple remedies can knock out joint pain and help you stay limber and pain-free all summer.
Stretch out in bed.
Before leaping out of bed, stretch your arms over your head, lean from one side to the other, and point and flex your toes. Five minutes of gentle morning stretches limbers up your joints to cut daytime stiffness and pain by as much as 62 percent. That’s the word from Finnish scientists, who say ache-triggering fluids naturally settle into joint tissues overnight, but even the simplest stretches and wiggles flush them out fast!
Sip away stiffness.
Drinking a little more water on warmer days cuts joint stiffness in half, New Zealand scientists say. Why? Your joint cartilage can dry out when you’re dehydrated, and extra H2O keeps it cushiony.
Slip your feet into a kiddie pool, place an ice pack on your neck, or enjoy a cool shower. Lowering your body temperature for 15 minutes daily eases joint pain by 52 percent for 24 hours, a study in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases found. Orthopedic surgeon Pat Lam, M.D., says cooling your body calms pain nerves, relaxes spasming muscles, and reduces joint swelling. Aah!
Nosh on cherries.
The sweet fruit’s anthocyanins are powerful anti-inflammatories that also speed healing of damaged connective tissues. No wonder Northwestern University scientists say eating 20 cherries daily lessens joint pain by 50 percent in two weeks.
Taking 500 mg. of natural eggshell membrane (NEM) daily cuts joint pain by 72 percent and ups mobility by 42 percent, University of Arizona scientists say. It tames tissue swelling and encourages the formation of shock-absorbent cartilage, says Jason Theodosakis, M.D., author of The Arthritis Cure (Buy from Amazon, $9). Note: Check with a doctor before supplementing.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.