Having arthritis can make it difficult for some people to get around. Most forms of this medical condition involve chronic pain and they may be characterized by stiffness of the joints that occurs first thing in the morning because the joints have been resting all night. Although constant pain and inflammation can be difficult to live with, there are many things you can do to help ease your arthritis symptoms.
Get Regular Exercise
If you do suffer from one of the 100 identified types of arthritis, having a regular exercise routine may not seem appealing. However, by keeping your body moving, you can keep your joints flexible and reduce your need for prescription medications to reduce both pain and inflammation.
The types of exercise you do will depend on the joints affected by arthritis and the severity of your condition. While running may be out of the question if your knee joints or back is affected by arthritis, you can still get a good cardiovascular workout with swimming. By keeping your body buoyant, the water helps keep pressure off of your joints and swimming allows you to get a full body workout.
Weightlifting is another great exercise for people who live with arthritis. Building up muscles helps to create a frame of support for the skeletal system, which can help brace joints affected by arthritis. Strength training can also help increase the strength of bones, helps bones become denser and connective tissues get stronger as well.
Stretching also helps to keep arthritic bodies limber, so yoga and Pilates both work well to help arthritis sufferers keep their bodies in shape.Tai Chi is another proven exercise that can be practiced by people of all ages and it helps to keep the body flexible and strong.
Get Healthy Foods
Maintaining a healthy diet is also necessary if you have arthritis as it can help keep your weight down or help you lose weight if you need to. Being overweight exerts more pressure on your joints, something you don’t need if you suffer from any form of arthritis. Eating a healthy diet can not only help you lose weight, but by eliminating certain foods from your diet, you can stave off inflammation and reduce pain.
Refined carbohydrates, which includes foods made from white flour and sugar, has inflammatory properties and can make arthritis symptoms worse. By reducing or eliminating foods like candy, cookies, pastas and bread made with white flour, you can reduce the inflammation in your body. Reducing inflammation will often result in a reduction of pain as well.
Along with eliminating bad foods from your diet, you should also add healthy foods to help with arthritis symptoms. Fresh fruits, vegetables and fish will help reduce inflammation, reduce calories and help you maintain your weight better than other types of food.
Before you start a weight loss plan, check with your doctor first. He or she can advise you about any foods that you need to avoid or increase your intake of to help with your arthritis systems. Sometimes treatments for certain forms of arthritis can reduce the production of blood cells in your body and you can become anemic as a result. However, you can add foods rich in iron to help reduce the chances of anemia.
Add Supplements to Your Diet
While you may increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, adding vitamin and mineral supplements to your routine can help protect your joints from further damage. Some vitamins may also help slow or prevent the progression of the form of arthritis for which you’ve been diagnosed.
Several forms of arthritis are autoimmune diseases and adding certain vitamins to your diet can help strengthen your immune system and helps protect the cells of your body from damage due to inflammation. Adding antioxidants to your diet, either in the form of foods or through supplementation, can help protect your body’s cell structure.
Dealing with Chronic Pain
As many prescription pain medications can be addictive, many people try to find ways to deal with chronic pain without taking medications. Chronic pain can be an issue with many forms of arthritis, especially if the disease has progressed. Aside from using pain-relieving medications, using alternative treatments like acupuncture, meditation and massage therapy can help patients cope with their pain.
When people meditate, they can alter their brainwaves so that relax your body and promote healing within the body’s internal systems. Meditation can also alter the body’s chemicals and help boost levels of chemicals that help people deal with pain, such as endorphins.
Massage therapy works in the same ways that meditation does, but it also helps keep the muscles warm and relaxed. Regular massages can make it easier to move, which helps increase the range of motion and it can make it easier for some patients to walk. Speak with a physical therapist or a licensed massage therapist about the best type of massage to use to help reduce pain due to arthritis.
Keep Active and Make Adjustments
Lifestyle choices can also worsen chronic pain and arthritic symptoms. People who lead a sedentary lifestyle are more apt to have stiff joints, stiff muscles that can prevent them from keeping flexible and always sitting down working, especially in front of a computer, can exert pressure on the joints in the back, hips, pelvis, shoulders and neck.
Another way to deal with arthritis is adjust the way you do some tasks at work and at home. By doing so, you can prevent further damage to your joints. An occupational therapist can show you new ways to perform your job tasks or do chores at home so they don’t hurt your body. This could be by making adjustments to work stations or using aids to perform everyday tasks.
These suggestions can help you live with arthritis, but you should also consult your doctor about your limitations, especially before starting any regular exercise regimen. They can help you prevent any further damage to your body’s joints.