For many people with arthritis or other sources of joint pain, the holidays can be a stressful and even very painful time of year. Between the added stress, busyness of shopping and meal preparation, and entertaining guests, the holiday season can contribute to flare-ups of joint pain and stiffness. If your holidays are less than cheerful because of joint pain, consider these nine tips to help you get through and enjoy the holiday season while better managing your symptoms.
1. Start with the Right Topical Products for Joint Pain
There are a variety of topical products available that are aimed at reducing joint pain and stiffness. However, make sure you’re using a cream that does not contain steroids, parabens, preservatives, fragrances, or other ingredients that can lead to skin irritation and potentially serious side effects with long-term use. Many women and men alike have seen great success using Enduras Recovery Cream, a naturally-derived topical product formulated with a blend of essential micronutrients and an anti-inflammatory ingredient to calm and soothe symptoms of joint, muscle, and nerve pain and stiffness.
Take a look at our Testimonials Page if you’d like to read and view more about what real Enduras users have to say about how well this product has been able to work for them.
2. Manage Stress
There’s no doubting the fact that the holiday season can be one of the most stressful times of the year. Unfortunately, stress is a common trigger of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and other similar flare-ups. This is because stress causes your body’s inflammatory response system to kick in, which, in turn, contributes to the already-chronic inflammation within the joints that causes arthritis pain (Everyday Health). So if you feel that you’re under lots of extra stress during the holidays, you may need to pay special attention to how you manage and deal with that pressure so that your joints don’t bear the brunt of it.
A few simple tips to help keep stress under control include:
- Spending time outdoors, ideally in a natural setting
- Getting enough sleep
- Finding someone to talk to
3. Try Supplements
Dietary supplements may be able to help calm joint pain and stiffness, especially when you’re running around more than usual to complete last-minute holiday shopping and cooking. Omega fatty acid supplements such as fish oil and flaxseed oil have been shown to help reduce inflammation, which can minimize symptoms of arthritis and other inflammatory joint conditions (University of Maryland Medical Center).
On the other hand, avoiding pro-inflammatory foods such as sugar, cooking oils, and processed foods, can help to calm arthritis flare-ups and associated joint pain and stiffness. If you are going to treat yourself to a few sugary treats over the holidays, try to keep it to a minimum for this reason.
Other supplements that may help to reduce joint pain and stiffness include glucosamine, chondroitin, green tea extract, and probiotics. It’s a good idea to check with your doctor before adding a new supplement to your regular routine to make sure it will not adversely affect any medications you may be taking.
4. Keep Moving
Although moving around might sound like the last thing you want to do when you’re dealing with arthritis pain, the truth is that staying active is one of the best things you can do for your body. Even when it is cold and snowy outside, you can still perform stretches from the comfort of your home to help keep your joints and muscles loose, flexible, and strong. In fact, many people with arthritis and other causes of joint pain are still able to maintain an active lifestyle by stretching, exercising, and eating the right foods.
If you are out and about holiday shopping, make sure you aren’t putting unnecessary strain on your muscles and joints, though. Find someone to help you with heavy lifting, or at the very least, make sure you always lift with proper form by bending your knees and not bending forward at the waist.
5. Eat Right
Eating right during the holiday season can be particularly challenging, especially if you have multiple dinners to attend. However, maintaining a healthy, balanced diet can go a long way when it comes to managing flare-ups of joint pain. Some of the best foods for calming joint pain include:
- Wild-caught salmon
For some people, a specific protein found in dairy food items like milk, yogurt, and cheese could worsen arthritis symptoms. Some studies suggest limiting gluten, dairy, and meat products from your diet to help reduce osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms (Arthritis).
6. Limit Alcohol Consumption
During holiday parties and get-togethers with friends and family, many of us drink more alcohol than we otherwise might throughout the rest of the year. Alcohol consumption, though, can increase inflammation, trigger joint pain caused by gout flare-ups, and should not be mixed with pain-relieving medications. Some evidence does suggest that drinking an occasional glass of red wine or beer with dinner may help to reduce your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis later in life. However, if you already have arthritis symptoms, the downside consequences of drinking alcohol tend to outweigh any possible benefits (Arthritis Foundation).
So if you are going to indulge in a drink or two over the holidays, try to do so in moderation. Also, try to avoid drinks like spiked eggnog, margaritas, and other cocktails that contain large amounts of sugar.
7. Find Support
If you’re having a hard time getting everything done that you need to accomplish before the holidays, ask for some help from close friends and family members. Even if you just need someone to talk to to help curb signs of seasonal depression, knowing that you have someone in your corner can make a huge difference.
You can also talk with your doctor if you feel you need a little extra help managing joint pain this time of year. Just be sure that you discuss all of your options with him or her, and don’t discount a product like Enduras, which is not a drug but can help to significantly reduce your symptoms.
8. Use Hot and Cold Therapy While Traveling
If you travel for the holidays, joint pain might flare up more than usual, especially if you’re flying or have a long car ride ahead of you. To help calm your symptoms, try using hot and cold therapy. Generally speaking, heat is used to soothe and loosen sore or painful muscles. It should not be used if the affected area is bruised or swollen. However, heat therapy can typically be used for longer periods of time than cold therapy, which needs to be limited to about 10 to 15 minutes at a time (Healthline).
Cold therapy is best used for reducing inflammation and swelling around a joint. It should not be used for stiff muscles, though.
9. Listen to Your Body
No matter what’s on your to-do list this holiday season, make sure you’re constantly listening to your body. Don’t overdo physical activity or running around on holiday errands if your body is telling you that it needs a break. Don’t forget to take some time for yourself over the holidays to rest, relax, and recover after a busy couple of days.
The holiday season should be a joyful, fun time of year. But if you’re struggling with flare-ups of joint pain, this can be a difficult time of year to get through. To help you fully enjoy the holidays with friends and family, keep these nine tips for calming joint pain and stiffness in mind throughout the season.
Do you have holiday joint pain tips of your own that we haven’t covered here? Feel free to share them with us and other readers just like you in the comments section below!
About the Authors
William Goolsbee has spent his career in Life Sciences including leading roles in drug development in immunology and genetic medicine. Recent senior positions include Chairman of the Board at Sarepta Therapeutics and Founder and CEO at Metrodora Therapeutics.
Dr. Gil Price
Gil Price M.D. is the Chief Medical Officer at the Propharma Group, where he provides medical supervision for all clinical trials. He previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of Drug Safety Solutions, where he oversaw safety monitoring for drugs in clinical development. Dr. Price also served as the Director of Clinical Development at Medimmune Oncology and Director of Medical Affairs at Glaxo.