Enjoying a Pain-Free Holiday Season: Joint Protection Strategies for Arthritis

The holiday period is a time of joy, celebration, and spending quality moments with loved ones.

If you live with arthritis, this festive time can also bring challenges with increased activity, which may worsen joint pain and cause discomfort.

This time of the year should be enjoyed and stress-free, so here are some joint protection strategies for enjoying a pain-free Christmas and New Year’s.

#1. Plan Ahead

Christmas and New Year’s can be extremely busy, so plan your activities wisely. Prioritise what’s most important to you and avoid overcommitting. If possible, spread your activities throughout your holiday period to prevent overexertion. Use pacing techniques to help you do this.

For more information, read our article on The Power of Pacing for Better Arthritis Management.

#2. Use Assistive Devices

Assistive devices can minimise the strain on joints with arthritis, as well as reducing pain and discomfort. It can make walking easier, as well as performing daily tasks.

If you use mobility aids like canes, walkers, or braces, make sure they are in good condition and use them as needed. These devices can provide stability and reduce stress on your joints.

For more information, read our article on Benefits of Assistive Devices for Arthritis.

#3. Choose Joint-Friendly Exercises

Staying active is essential, but choose joint-friendly exercises like swimming, pilates, tai chi or gentle yoga. These activities can help maintain joint flexibility and strengthen the surrounding muscles.

For more information, read our article on Exercising with Arthritis.

#4. Stay Hydrated

Water is important to maintain cartilage in your bones and reduce joint inflammation. Water also helps create synovial fluid, a thin layer of fluid that cushions and delivers nutrition to your joints. Synovial fluid reduces friction when you move your joints. Less synovial fluid can result in increased friction which can cause joint pain, inflammation and stiffness.

#5. Healthy Eating

Enjoy the festive meals but remember to maintain a balanced diet. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in foods like salmon, oily fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds, can help reduce inflammation. Swap sugary and processed foods for fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating a balanced, healthy diet is vital for good health.
For more information, read our article on Benefits of Healthy Eating for Arthritis Management.

#6. Delegate Tasks

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or delegate tasks. Whether it’s asking for help to prepare meals for everyone, or setting up Christmas decorations, sharing the workload can help reduce physical stress on your joints.

For more information, read our article on Joint Friendly Tips for Christmas Decorating.

#7. Rest and Pace Yourself

Allow yourself time to rest between activities. Pacing is essential to prevent overexertion, and make sure to listen to your body and take breaks when needed.

For more information, read our article on The Power of Pacing for Better Arthritis Management.

#8. Joint Protection Techniques

Learn and practice joint protection techniques. These include using larger, stronger joints instead of smaller ones, such as carrying bags with your forearms instead of gripping tightly with your fingers.

For more information, read our article on Protecting Your Joints.

#9. Manage Stress

The holiday period can be stressful, which may worsen your arthritis symptoms, Try some relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or mindfulness to manage stress and improve your overall well being.

For more information, read our article The Power of Mindfulness: Easing Arthritis Pain and Improving Well Being.

#10. Medication Management

If you’re on medications for arthritis, make sure to stick to your prescribed regime. Consult with your doctor or specialist if you need adjustments to your medication during the holidays.

#11. Reach Out for Support

Seek support from friends and family if you are going through a hard time. Let them know how they can help you during the holiday season, whether it is with house-hold jobs, transportation, or simply being there for you.

For more information, read our article on Support for Mental Well being.

#12. Enjoy Low-Impact Activities

Embrace the holiday traditions and activities that are easier on your joints. These can include activities such as sitting down while decorating the tree, or choosing a scenic drive to enjoy festive lights.

Remember that arthritis doesn’t have to steal your holiday joy. By implementing these joint protection strategies, you can enjoy the festive moments with less pain and more comfort.

Enjoy the company of your loved ones, engage in activities you enjoy, and celebrate the holiday season to the fullest.

Breanna Jones
Health Promotions Coordinator
Arthritis QLD

October 2023