Wowser, didn’t it just turn cold all of a sudden? I love winter on the mountain. I love the change of colours, the cold mornings and the crisp clear skies at night. I love snuggling under the doona and sipping red wine whilst huddling by the fire. However, recently, I had noticed that the cold weather is having a big negative impact on our 12 year-old Black Labrador, Millie. By the way she had started to struggle to get off her bed in the mornings it was obvious that the cold was making her joints stiff and sore. It was taking her quite a few stiff legged steps to get moving and be excited about her usual morning walk around our small farm.
At Physique, our patients often tell us that their aches and pains are much worse over the winter months. While it is a matter of some contention as to whether or not there is any scientific evidence to suggest that cold weather does actually cause increases in joint pain, it is undoubtable that many of us in our mountain community do feel stiffer over winter. It is also undoubtable that there is much that we can do to ease the stiffness and help to be relatively pain free over winter.
What we have done with Millie over the past week is be certain that she is wearing her cute little jacket to bed, making sure she sleeps on her lovely new indoors bed and taking her for regular walks. You see, I think one of the big contributing factors to Millie’s joint pain was the fact that her Daddy had decided that it was too dark and too cold and too wet to get up and take her for a walk every day. She has been much improved since we have started her new winter exercise routine and while she may not bound out of bed in the mornings, she has at least got her spring back into her step.
I think a lot of her human community members could benefit from some similar advice. The most effective way to improve joint mobility and relieve pain from stiffness is to make sure that you are participating in regular and appropriate exercise. Of course, the best way to make sure you have the most effective exercise program is to seek advice from one of the experts at Physique. It is also important to make sure that you stay warm. It is well known that exposure to cold results in increased muscle trigger points, causing pain and much tighter muscles. Some other advice that I regularly give patients with any joint aches and stiffness is to apply a lovely warm hot pack to the offending joints at least 1-2 times per day. The increased blood flow to the area will do wonders! Try it out, I guarantee it will help.
And finally, regular, hands-on treatment from the therapists at Physique can make a world of difference. Once we have loosened off your joints and released all the tight muscles you will, like Millie, get that spring back in your step. And once you have your spring back you can all look forward to enjoying the wonders, sights and treats that winter on this special mountain has in store for you.