We've had some gorgeous days of late in sunny Christchurch with plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy our beautiful province. A couple of weeks ago when we were in the grips of those nasty frosts, a client asked me why we feel our aches and pains more in the winter, especially in arthritic joints. This inspired me to write a little on this difficult topic.

So why does that niggly back pain rear it's ugly head more on those cold mornings? It's partly to do with blood flow. When we're cold, our clever bodies direct more circulation to our vital organs and the blood vessels going to our muscles will constrict. This means that our poor muscles get less nutrients and oxygen, so they don't work optimally. It also means that waste products such as lactic acid which build up in our muscles aren't cleared efficiently due to the poor blood flow. This is exacerbated by our lack of movement in bed overnight which is why we're more aware of it in the morning and why we feel better after having a nice hot shower and getting going for the day.

There are ways to improve that blood flow to combat the aches and pains. Movement gets your circulation going. Exercise is a great way to encourage those constricted blood vessels to dilate and send lots of oxygen to your hard working muscles. An added bonus is that exercise also boosts your seratonin levels, a lovely hormone that combats depression, and allows you to absorb some much needed vitamin D. Of course, a lovely hot wheat bag will warm you up and magnesium can be a great tonic for sore, neglected muscles (always get advice before taking these supplements as they can clash with certain medications).

These aches and pains that you feel more in the colder weather are also a warning sign of something underlying that needs attention. Perhaps certain  joints aren't moving as they should be and need loosening, or maybe you have some muscle imbalance which is overworking certain areas while neglecting others. The team at Merivale Osteopathy is perfectly placed to assess your posture, improve range of motion in your joints, reduce your muscle tension and bring everything back into balance. We also provide tools for you to take home and use as preventative measures for next winter!

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