WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The most recent spell of miserably cold weather may be out of Texoma for the time being, but if 2023 shapes up like years past, we haven’t seen the worst winter weather just yet.
Cold snaps can be especially daunting for people with joint pain, but as KFDX Anchor Lauren Linville explains, if those with joint pain stay on top of it, they may not have to bear the brunt of it.
Recently, a familiar face returned to United Regional Health Care System. Sports Medicine and Pain Management Physician Dr. Brandon Ohman is back in Wichita Falls after heading out east to be closer to family.
“We enjoyed it, but soon found out that it was not Wichita Falls,” Dr. Ohman said. “So we are making the transition back to Wichita Falls and it feels like home.”
But those who have called Wichita Falls home for any length of time know how unpredictable the weather can be, especially during the winter months. And those chaotic changes in weather patterns often mean changes in atmospheric pressure.
That may not mean much to some Wichitans, but it can be a nightmare for those dealing with arthritis and joint pain.
Dr. Ohman said one way to avoid being floored by joint pain during winter cold is to simply keep moving.
“When we don’t use things, we lose things,” Dr. Ohman said. “Flexibility is one of them, especially when you have arthritis, you can get what my parents and grandparents would say stove up, meaning the joints get very stiff, well if you have to make a motion quickly and you already have stiff joints, that can make you very unstable.”
According to Dr. Ohman, a good practice to get into the habit of is to go from sitting to standing, back to sitting, and repeat multiple times a day.
“Just walking around your house inside would be great,” Dr. Ohman said. “If you have a garage, of course, kind of move around, really try your best not to go outside if you don’t have to, especially if there’s precipitation because you don’t want to cause a chronic issue to become an acute issue.”
Dr. Ohman said the consequences of not staying limber could be a devastating fall.
“If you can’t move a certain part of your body, if you have a head trauma with the fall, that’s something to take seriously,” Dr. Ohman said. “If you’re on a blood thinner and you think that’s not a big deal, I had a little fall but I’m OK, and you start to bruise quite a bit because you’re on that blood thinner that could be something to have a doctor take a look at.”
While many people seek a surgical procedure to remedy their joint pain, Dr. Ohman said not all roads lead to the operating room.
“For chronic and acute pains, whether it’s a fall or something that you’ve had for years, there’s other things besides surgery that can be helpful,” Dr. Ohman said. “Certain types of physical therapy can be helpful, certain types of injections can be helpful, and any surgeon that is good at what they do doesn’t want to do surgery on people that don’t need it.”
According to Dr. Ohman, though it may be uncomfortable to stretch, or push the joints to the limit, it could lead to the relief many are seeking.
“Studies show that the movement of the joints, even arthritic joints, help improve mobility, help improve pain severity,” Dr. Ohman said.
That’s why a little movement a day could keep the doctor away.