Winter Aches and Pains

With the colder season in full swing, many of us no longer engage in the activity we used to in the summer.  That, combined with the changes in weather can often cause arthritis to flare up.  There are many ways to help prevent these winter aches and pain from getting the better of us.  One of the best ways is to perform gentle exercises in your home on a daily basis.  Exercise will help maintain the health of your joints, the flexibility of your muscles and increase your energy levels.  Staying active is important during the winter, especially if you are experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder.  The SAD symptoms will often lead to less activity, strength and tolerance for your favorite hobbies causing a downward spiral into poor health.

            If you happen to be experiencing a flare up of arthritic pain, either from weather changes or lack of activity there are many gentle alternatives to regular exercise, such as isometrics.  Isometric exercises maintain a steady position while you flex your muscles for a short period of time.  Since your arm or leg isn’t moving, you will not get irritate the arthritis.  Your muscles stay strong and your joints stay stability and your circulation increases.  Always remember to breathe continuously during exercise and stop if it causes any discomfort.

            During painful flare ups you need to protect your joints, but that doesn’t mean sitting and resting all day; you have to stay active.  When you are active during a flare up, be sure to:

  • Protect the smaller joints – use the big ones instead
  • Avoid repetitive activity – if you have to get a big project done, do it in small parts throughout the day instead of all at once
  • Avoid awkward positions – these can slowly take their toll, so don’t hyper-extend or hyper-flex your joints.

 

If you have any questions call your doctor or physical therapist.

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Lymphedema: Links of Interest

Here are some links you may find of interest in relation to Lymphedema…
The National Lymphedema Network http://www.lymphnet.org/ is an organization that provides education and guidance to lymphedema patients, health care professionals, and the general public.
The American Cancer Society’s http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_6X_Lymphedema_5.asp   page about breast cancer and lymphedema.
LymphNotes.com http://www.lymphnotes.com/index.php is an independent source of objective information about lymphedema.
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation http://ww5.komen.org/ is a global leader in the fight against breast cancer, through its support of research and education.
LymphesDIVA http://www.lymphedivas.com/   LympheDIVAs™ LLC is dedicated to creating medically correct fashion: compression apparel for the savvy and stylish breast cancer survivor with lymphedema, which will inspire her to feel beautiful, strong, and confident.
The Young Survival Coalition http://www.youngsurvival.org/ (YSC) is a nonprofit dedicated to the concerns and issues that are unique to young women and breast cancer.
Living Beyond Breast Cancer http://www.lbbc.org/ is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering all women affected by breast cancer to live as long as possible with the best quality of life.
Breastcancer.org http://www.breastcancer.org/ is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the most reliable, complete, and up-to-date information about breast cancer.
Lymphedema People http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/  is a website created for, and by, people with lymphedema.
Shop Well with You  http://www.shopwellwithyou.org/  (SWY) is a nonprofit organization and body-image resource for women surviving cancer, their caregivers and healthcare providers.
eLymphNotes http://www.elymphnotes.com/ is an online magazine on lymphedema published by the Lymphedema Awareness Foundation, Inc. (LAF).
Slice of Fashion LLC http://www.sliceoffashion.com/ makes accessories for women with lymphedema.
KT Foundation http://www.ktfoundation.org/ is a group of volunteer advocates for those afflicted with Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome (KTS.) The Foundation is a working center providing the latest medical news on KTS, an up-to-date list of specialists and accurate information to support individuals with KTS.
The Annie Appleseed Project http://www.annieappleseedproject.org/  is a great resource for information on complementary and alternative therapies for cancer patients.
Pink-Link    http://www.pink-link.org/   is an online breast cancer support group.
Bella Bandanas http://www.bellabandanas.com/ makes custom designed Swarovski crystal bandanas.
Spirited Sisters™ http://www.healingthreads.com/ and it’s Healing Threads™ Collection of Designer Hospital Gowns understand the physical and emotional demands of fighting any illness. These garments are sophisticated, attractive, comforting and dignified.
Haralee.com http://www.haralee.com/ creates fantastic sleepwear and pillowcases which are made of wick-away fabrics so hot flashes do not ruin your sleep! These fabrics draw perspiration away from the body to the fabric where it evaporates quickly- just like LympheDIVAs sleeves!
 
I hope these are helpful
 
Sonja M. Maul PT, CLT-LANA
National Board Certified Lymphedema Therapist
St. Luke’s*Idaho Elks Rehabilitation Services (SLIERS)