While summer can be the time for sunshine, paddling pools, and lazy evenings in the garden, it can also be a nightmare if you suffer from joint pain.
Unfortunately, underlying joint pain in heat and humidity can become even more uncomfortable. Yes, just when you thought the cold weather was to be feared, summer comes along and makes things worse!
Don’t worry – in this article, we take a closer look at the issue and what you can do to ease your pain as the temperature rises.
Why does hot weather affect joint pain?
Traditionally, people see the cold weather as a time for joints to seize up and become painful. This may be true, but for many people, it’s heat that tends to cause worse flareups.
There are several reasons for this, one of which being warmer temperatures causing your tendons, ligaments, and muscles to expand and experience more discomfort.
Hot weather, humidity, and dehydration can also alter fluid levels in the body, which can reduce the amount or thickness of the lubricating synovial fluid in the joints. The result? Increased joint pain.
Finally, because hot weather can make you feel sedentary (think chilling out in the shade instead of going for a walk), your joints can stiffen and become more painful.
Whether it’s one, two, or all three of these reasons, rest assured that suffering joint pain in the heat is not a figment of your imagination!
What can you do to help reduce joint pain?
Luckily, there are several things you can do to help ease your joint pain in the heat:
1. Be sensible in the heat
Following good common sense is the first remedy!
When the weather is hot, do your best to stay indoors in a cool room when possible, using air conditioning or a fan if needed. If you have to be outside, wear sunscreen, sit in the shade, and avoid high-intensity exercise.
2. Dress appropriately
How you dress can make a difference to how your joints move and feel in warm weather.
When it’s hot, wear sensible clothing that gives your body a chance to breathe and stay cool. For example, shorts, t-shirts, skirts, dresses, and vests. When possible, wear loose clothing made with natural fibres to allow unrestricted movement.
It is also sensible to wear lightweight and supportive shoes to avoid putting undue stress on your ankles – a joint that can typically suffer pain in the heat.
3. Stay hydrated
Never underestimate the benefits of good hydration, especially in the heat. Even if you aren’t moving as much or visibly sweating, you will be losing more fluid and salts than you would in the winter months.
Keep hydrated by eating plenty of water-rich foods such as watermelon, cucumbers, strawberries, tomatoes, oranges, and celery.
Additionally, you should aim to drink at least 2 litres of water per day, with an extra 500ml to 1 litre of water for every hour of activity you do. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink – by then you are already dehydrated!
While sweating rates differ from person to person, if you sweat heavily or are exercising in the heat, it can be wise to take an electrolyte supplement or sports drink to replace the salts, minerals and sugars you lose. Electrolytes are simple minerals like sodium, potassium and magnesium that help maintain the balance of water in your body.
4. Ease joints directly
Even when hydrating and cooling down, joint pain can persist. You may find it beneficial to use a topical cream or balm to combat joint pain.
We recommend our award-winning Wholy Me Relief Balm, which is packed with evidence-based natural ingredients that work to relieve pain and soothe joints.
Used by Olympic athletes, this buttery balm includes the powerful soothing properties of organic arnica oil, rosemary oil, juniper oil, frankincense oil, and wintergreen oil among others. Just rub a little directly onto the affected area and enjoy the natural calming benefits.
5. Get in the pool
Nothing beats jumping into a cool pool as the temperatures soar! But in addition to cooling you off, swimming in the heat can benefit your joints.
As we know, inactivity can make joint pain worse. Swimming allows you to move your body in a low-impact setting, which promotes blood flow and can naturally reduce pain in your joints. If you don’t like swimming, try an aqua aerobics or aqua jogging session for similar benefits.
Always talk to a doctor before starting any new exercise regime, although a dip in the pool will usually be recommended.
As you can see, joint pain in the heat can be a concern, but it doesn’t have to be inevitable. We hope these tips will help you cope with the heat, relieve your joint pain, and enjoy the summer! ☀️