When your arthritis symptoms get worse in summer, you’re not alone. Summer is a common time of year for a flare-up to occur. Weather changes during summertime, as well as an increased amount of physical activity, can make your condition worse. Learn more about why this happens and what you can do about it so that you can enjoy summer activities.
Overdoing Physical Activities
Although it’s important to get regular physical activity when you have arthritis, overdoing it can lead to a flare-up. Pushing your joints too much in terms of physical activity can result in increased joint pain and stiffness, especially if you have osteoarthritis or gout. Repetitive motions involving your joints can strain them too much.
Illnesses and Medication Changes
Having certain illnesses or changes to your medication can put you at risk of having your arthritis symptoms get worse, especially if you have rheumatoid arthritis. For example, taking seasonal allergy medications that affect your immune system can increase your risk of getting infectious illnesses, which can then lead to flare-ups.
Certain kinds of environmental conditions, such as changes in the weather or exposure to seasonal allergens, can trigger a flare-up. Those who have osteoarthritis or psoriatic arthritis have a higher risk of having their symptoms become worse due to these kinds of conditions.
Your everyday habits can have a big impact on whether or not your arthritis symptoms become worse. An unhealthy diet or a lack of sleep can trigger flare-ups, especially if you have psoriatic arthritis or gout. Drinking alcohol or smoking on a regular basis can also lead to a higher risk of having your symptoms flare-up.
If you’ve been feeling alright for a while, you might find that you’re not being as vigilant about protecting yourself from flare-ups. You might not be exercising much, or you might not be taking other steps to manage your condition. This puts you at an increased risk of experiencing joint pain and other symptoms.
What to Do About Flare-Ups
What should you do if you’ve been experiencing flare-ups? In addition to taking your regular medication, you can also ease symptoms by doing the following:
- Place heat or cold on areas of soreness. Ice packs can relieve joint inflammation, while hot packs can promote muscle relaxation.
- Meditate, do deep breathing or practice another technique that eases stress and muscle tension.
- Work on losing excess weight through diet and exercise to take extra pressure off your joints, which will help relieve joint pain and stiffness.
- Make adjustments to your physical activity levels, and make sure you have time to rest. This gives your joints time to recover before you exercise again.
If you’re in need of a provider to help you with your treatment plan, obtain a referral from your doctor and contact Arthritis Center of Lexington today.