The winter months can be incredibly trying for those who suffer from joint pain. Joint pain tends to worsen in the winter due to barometric pressure. Before cold weather hits, the barometric pressure (the weight of the atmosphere that surrounds us) drops. This means the atmosphere pushes less against the body, and tissues can expand. The expanding tissues put increased pressure on our joints, leading to pain and stiffness. Want to know the best thing for this pain? To keep moving! Numerous studies show that exercise and stretching helps to:
- Increase blood flow to the sore area
- Provide more oxygen to stiff joints
- Improve range of motion
- Boost overall mental state
- Enhance physical function
If you find yourself feeling stiff this winter, try these 7 stretches to combat joint pain!
7 Stretches to Combat Joint Pain This Winter
1. Side Seated Stretch
This stretch is great for opening up the hips, back, and shoulders. Simply sit on the ground with your legs crossed (criss, cross, apple sauce). Sit up straight and inhale as your reach both arms over your head. Exhale as you place your left hand on the ground and bend slightly into the left arm. Reach your right arm over your head, while keeping your butt planted on the ground. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
2. Cat Cows
This stretch helps activate the spin and core. Start by kneeling down on all fours in a table top position. Make sure that your wrists are under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. For the cow pose, inhale and arch your back, lowering your stomach towards the ground and pushing your butt up. For the cat pose, exhale to round the spine while tucking the pelvis under and drawing your chin to your chest. Alternate between these two poses for 8 rounds.
3. Thread the Needle
This stretch helps release tension in the upper back and shoulders. Start in a table top position on the floor. Next, lift your right hand off of the floor and thread it underneath your left arm, bringing your right shoulder to the floor. Walk your fingers out as far as you can to feel the stretch between your shoulder blades. Hold the pose for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
4. Downward Dog
This stretch does a great job of stretching the hamstrings, calves, back, and shoulders. It also helps strengthen the arms, shoulders, and back! Start by kneeling on the floor in the tabletop position. Then walk your hands forward a few inches and tuck your toes under. Press into your palms and lift your hips toward the ceiling to make your body into a V-shape. Press your chest toward your thighs and engage the core. Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat as many times as you like.
5. Forward Fold
The forward fold helps release tension in the shoulders, lower back, and hamstrings. Start by standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Next, take your hands behind your lower back and interlock your fingers. If your mobility allows, bring your palms together. Now bend your knees and inhale. As you exhale, keep your hands together and fold your chest over your thighs. Let the hands lift away from the lower back and stretch the shoulders. You can let your knees bend enough so that your chest can rest on your thighs. Hold for 30 seconds and slowly release.
6. Seated Figure 4
The seated figure 4 stretch relieves pressure and tightness in the hips, quads, and lower back. Start by sitting on the floor. Next, bend your left knee and place your left foot on the floor. Next, bend your right knee and cross the right ankle over your left thigh. Sit up with a tall spine and hold the pose for 30 seconds before switching legs.
7. Supine Twists
This stretch helps relieve a stiff spine. Lie down on the floor with your knees bent and your feet pressed on the floor. Relax your arms backwards so that your elbows are lined up with your shoulders. Now, keep your knees bent and pick your feet up off of the ground. Keep your shins parallel to the floor and engage the core. As you exhale, lower your knees to the right, keeping your shoulder down. Hold the post for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Healing Hands Chiropractic
Healing Hands Chiropractic, located in Murfreesboro, TN, can help relieve joint pressure and pain. Dr. Dee and her amazing staff are specifically trained in chiropractic, which is proven to help increase joint mobility, decrease joint pain, and improve range of motion. To schedule your consultation or appointment, contact Healing Hands Chiropractic today!