Home Exercise and Rehab
Gina John is a Pilates Practitioner and Registered Osteopath who has spent many years offering help and advice, especially to the over 50 age group.
She is founder of The Osprey Clinic in the St. Johns Wood area of London and now specialises in Home Exercise and Rehabilitation Programmes. For further advice on exercising safely, and a selection of exercise films for general fitness and medical conditions, visit the website: www.home-exercise-rehab.com
This month: Advice for helping cold hands and feet
A condition known as Raynaud’s Syndrome is typified by episodic colour changes in the skin in response to cold or stress. Symptoms occur when the blood vessels in the hands, and sometimes also the feet are hypersensitive to cold, causing them to go into spasm. The skin becomes pale, patchy red or blue-toned. Tingling, numbness and a burning sensation as well as difficulty in moving the fingers or toes may also be experienced. Although, the condition is most commonly diagnosed in women under 40, Raynaud’s is also associated with rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, scleroderma, nerve disorders, decreased thyroid activity, injuries and drug reactions.
Other common causes of numbness or altered sensation in the extremities include compression of the nerves which run from the neck to the hands, as well as conditions which affect the sensory nerves (sensory neuropathy) and the smaller arteries in the hands and feet, such as diabetes. So, it is necessary to consult with our General Practitioner if you are experiencing such symptoms, especially if they seem to be getting worse or affecting your sleep.
Wearing mittens and socks may be beneficial, as heat will help to dilate our blood vessels, improving the circulation to peripheral muscles and joints. However, if you have a history of high cholesterol, heart disease or peripheral artery disease, blood vessels may be narrowed by the accumulation of fatty material and therefore, restrict your blood circulation in the affected areas.
Other common causes of cold hands and feet include, working with vibrating equipment, taking certain medications, consuming caffeine, smoking or suffering from stress. All of which may cause blood vessels to constrict.
Useful advice to improve your peripheral circulation is to eat lighter meals and drink a warm caffeine-free drink every 2-3 hours. Also, avoid wearing very tight fitting gloves, socks or footwear and try to make to for relaxation or reading to combat stress.
The following exercises will also be of benefit in stimulating the circulation to the hands and feet.
Please send your questions for future columns, or feedback, by email to Gina John on email@example.com
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