MS and Cold Weather: 4 Ways to Deal
*This is not medical advice. Please speak with your doctor before starting anything new.
Cold weather can cause MS symptoms to flare up. Many times, this effects mobility issues related to spasticity. Spasticity can include things like ongoing muscle stiffness, spasms and painful, involuntary contractions. This can make it difficult to walk or move at all, causing added pain and frustration. There is no perfect solution to your symptoms, but there are a few things you can do to help when things start to get tough in cold weather.
Take Vitamin D. For mental and physical health, Vitamin D is important in in the winter -- often because we aren't as exposed to sunlight, a good source of Vitamin D. You can take Vitamin D in pill form or ensure you get lots of if by eating fortified cereal, milk and fatty fish, like salmon. It keeps the bones strong, as well.
Stay Heated. There's no need to stay cold in the winter when products abound! Get yourself a space heater, heated blanket or heated socks. Don't go overboard and overheat, but keep the option for warmth available. Give yourself an excuse to buy that big, warm, cozy sweater you've had your eye on and always have a cup of hot tea or coffee on hand. Keep your warmth tool box full so you never have to suffer on a cold day.
Get Your Zzzs. It may be obvious, but getting plenty of restful sleep will help your symptoms in the winter, just as they help our bodies generally throughout the year. Prioritize a consistent sleeping schedule and create an environment where you are as comfortable as possible and able to get the hours you need to function at optimal levels.
Keep Moving. It may be the last thing you feel like doing, but moving the body through self-massage, appropriate stretches and available exercise will help. Talk with your doctor about what types of stretches and movements you can take on a daily basis to improve your symptoms and keep your body as functional as possible in the winter.
Some people consider moving to a warmer climate when cold weather affects their symptoms significantly. Before you make a drastic move like that, make sure that's the root cause. Speak with your doctor about a plan to pinpoint your symptom flares and work on solutions or new treatments to help.