If your joints become achy as the weather chills, you’re not alone. Pain and stiffness are common this time of year since cooler temperatures thicken the lubricating fluid inside joints. In fact, a German study found 67 percent of participants blamed their pain flares-ups on weather shifts. For potent, drug-free relief from winter arthritis, try these five all-natural tips.
Suds up in the a.m.
You know heat calms joint pain. But to get the biggest benefit, Arthritis Foundation recommends you start your day with a steamy shower instead of sudsing up at night. The warmth relaxes joints that have become stiff and achy overnight, allowing for better circulation and ease of movement. Also smart: applying a warm compress infused with a few drops of ginger essential oil. Doing so daily can help soothe pain, per a study in the Journal of Holistic Nursing.
Channel Denise Austin.
A Baylor College of Medicine study found that participants who strolled regularly were less likely to have future joint pain. Walking as little as 10 minutes more a day can do the trick —you’ll keep joints flexible and improve alignment, warding off future aches. Try a free indoor walking video, like one by Denise Austin.
Sip a cherry spritzer.
Mixing tart cherry juice with sparkling water and a squeeze of lime may help quell joint pain with every sip. The anthocyanins found in cherries are powerful anti-inflammatories that can help speed healing of damaged connective tissues, and a study published in the Journal of Food Studies study showed that drinking cherry juice twice a day for three weeks reduced the pain felt by people with OA (or osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis).
Extra-virgin olive oil’s oleocanthal has similar inflammation- and pain-fighting powers to ibuprofen, a study in the International Journal of Molecular Science found. In this instance, enjoying 2 to 3 tablespoons of the oil daily noticeably eased joint pain and swelling for participants.
Try comfrey cream.
Rubbing sore joints with comfrey cream for 2 minutes three times a day can ease aches in just four days, a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found. The flowering shrub is packed with compounds that tame inflammation and quiet pain nerves.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.