With the holidays right around the corner and a new calendar waiting to be hung, winter is definitely here. Many people find that health issues like chronic pain seem to become worse when winter hits. Cold weather can exacerbate stiff joints and other pain issues, but even if there isn’t snow on the ground, many people experience a low mood because of the limited daylight hours. Your emotional state has a major impact on your physical wellbeing, so if you experience symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, you may also feel that physical pain is worse.
What can you do to get through the winter with fewer seasonal woes? To start, don’t wait for those New Year’s resolutions to take stock of your health. Here are some ways that you can ensure that you get through the winter and head into 2016 in better health.
See Your GP
Haven’t had a checkup in a while? Make an appointment to see your general practitioner. Especially if you are experiencing an issue like chronic pain, it’s important to keep track of the basics like blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and vaccines and immunizations. If you haven’t had a flu shot (and you haven’t caught the flu) it’s still not too late to receive one. Additionally, if you’ve seen a specialist and have new health information or are taking new medications, it’s a good idea to keep your GP in the loop.
Give Your Insurance a Checkup
With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and, if you’re over 65, the labyrinth that is Medicare, it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re covered for what you need. Even if you’re insured through your employer, you may not have looked at your coverage since you started your job. If you have joint problems or chronic pain issues, you may want to look into better coverage for specialist visits or physical therapy.
Beat the Winter Blues
The days are shorter and less sunny, which can contribute to feelings of depression. The good news is that there’s plenty you can do to give yourself a sunnier outlook. Finding ways to stay active in winter—whether it’s walking indoors, taking yoga classes, or even exercising at home with DVDs—can help you stay healthier and give you a regular endorphin boost.
Find a Solution
If you’ve been battling chronic pain and feel like you’ve tried everything, make an appointment to come in for a consultation at the Spine Institute Northwest or upload your MRI or CT scan to have your film evaluated for free. Our pain specialists have helped patients who thought they were out of options to get back their lives. From regenerative therapies to minimally invasive spine surgery, the Spine Institute Northwest offers cutting-edge options that can help relieve intractable pain. To learn more, call us today at 206-496-0630.