Jennifer Derham, Nutritional Therapist and Medical Herbalist at Content, shares with us her top tips for keeping warm and reducing muscular pain this Winter..
Each Winter I have increased shoulder pain along with cold hands and feet. What can I do?
'Researchers specialising in human bio-meteorology are now investigating possible connections between atmospheric conditions like temperature, barometric pressure and humidity, and conditions such as arthritis and muscle pain. Although it is increasingly evident that weather changes can trigger or aggravate these symptoms, it is not entirely clear how.
The colder months generally bring with them lower barometric air pressure. This drop in pressure can cause the soft tissue around joints to swell or expand, which can irritate the nerves and infringe on joints, causing pain, which in turn can radiate into muscles.
Cold weather also causes muscle to contract, or lock in a spasm, which again generates pain and to cap it all off, the lower temperatures cause pain receptors to be more sensitive and inhibit circulation to the body's extremities.
There are lots of things you can try to alleviate pain and muscle tension, try some of the tips below.
- Celery seed has been used for thousands of years to help reduce muscle spasm and inflammation, relieve pain, improve circulation, and even calm tense nerves. Celery seed tea, a wonderful warming tonic if feeling chilled or run down, may be made by steeping one teaspoon of the crushed seed in 1 cup of boiling water for about 15 minutes.
- Cayenne pepper helps improve circulation to joints and extremities, relieves muscle spasm and blocks nerves from sending pain messages. It may be used topically in ointment form or taken daily as a tonic, simply add a quarter teaspoon to some water or juice.
- Ginger warms the blood and boosts circulation. Well known for its anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and pain relieving effects, the fresh root or dried powder is a perfect addition to many dishes or a herbal tea along with lemon and honey.
- Massage using essential oils of geranium, rosemary, eucalyptus, ginger or black pepper as they help improve circulation whilst also having pain relieving effects.
- Soaking in a bath with Epsom salts, comprising magnesium sulfate, is a simple and effective way to introduce magnesium into the body. Magnesium helps reduces inflammation and relieve muscular and joint pain.