Why Arthritis Is Worse In The Winter And How This Can Affect Disabled Parking Permit Holders

Dr Handicap - snow in winter

If you suffer from arthritis, you may already be well aware of how the cold winter weather can impact your joints. Arthritis can manifest itself in several different ways, from rheumatoid arthritis to osteoarthritis, but one thing that they all have in common is painful joints. Many people who suffer from arthritis are also disabled parking permit holders, but if you’re not taken the step to get a disabled parking permit for your arthritis, then you may want to start this year. So why is arthritis worse in the winter? And how can you get a disabled parking permit for arthritis? Here’s everything you need to know about winter weather, arthritis and disabled parking.

Under Pressure

One of the things believed to make arthritis worse in cold weather is barometric pressure. Barometric pressure is defined as the force exerted on your body by the weight of the air in the atmosphere. Some experts believe that when the barometric pressure drops in cool, damp weather, tissues in the joints swell, putting more pressure on the nerves and intensifying pain.

Nerves Behaving Badly

Barometric pressure is one aspect of cooler winter weather that may impact joint pain in those with arthritis, but another is that the changes in your body triggered by cooler temperatures can amplify the pain signals from your joints.

Those who suffer from any type of arthritis know that pain is almost always present. One reason for this is that the central nervous system that transmits pain signals to and from the joints to the brain are amplified. When it’s cold out and your blood vessels constrict to help reduce the loss of body heat, the overstimulated nerves lead to an increase in the pain you feel.

What You Can Do

Before you decide to pack your bags and move to a warmer climate, there are a few things you can do to make winter a little more tolerable for you. First and foremost, did you know arthritis qualifies for a handicap parking badge?

You can work with your doctor (or Dr. Handicap!) to secure a disabled parking permit for yourself. Taking advantage of a disabled parking permit allows you to park in designated parking spots closer to a variety of public places, which means you can spend less time outside in the cold getting from one place to another.

In terms of other tips: staying warm is paramount to those with arthritis when temperatures plummet. If you can keep your joints warm, the less stiff and achy they may feel. When you do go outside, wear warm clothing. If you notice joints are feeling stiff or painful, break out the heating pad to warm them up. You may also want to consider a warm bath or shower – moist heat is the best thing for joints impacted by arthritis.

It’s also important to maintain a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. This works to your benefit in a couple of ways. It delivers essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to work optimally and heal itself; it also helps you to maintain a healthy body weight, which is good for your joints.

Dr Handicap - healthy winter food

Image by Brooke Lark on Unsplash: Your arthritis is worse in the cold, but a healthy diet can help!

How to Get a Disabled Parking Permit For Arthritis

In order to get a disabled parking permit, you need to check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles to check the procedure and the costs. In general, however, to get a disabled parking permit you first have to qualify. Qualifying conditions generally include:

  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Impaired mobility that requires the use of a brace, cane, wheelchair or other mobility device
  • Vision issues such as partial sightedness or low vision
  • Disease that limits the use of your arms or legs
  • Loss of one or both hands or legs or a limited use of these extremities

If you have arthritis or another qualifying condition, you can get an application either in person or online at the local offices that handle disabled parking permits. Complete the form and have a health care provider fill out the correct section, then turn it in for approval either in person or by mail.

Dr Handicap - parking sign

Image by AbsolutVision on Unsplash: See if arthritis qualifies you for a handicap parking badge.

Once you get your disabled parking permit, you can use it to park in designated parking wherever you travel. No one else can legally use the placard, so make sure you’re either driving or traveling in the vehicle you use.

Don’t make your arthritis worse in cold weather! Take steps to be more comfortable, and make sure to line up your disabled parking pass while you’re at it.

Featured image by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash