6 Tips to Help Manage Arthritis
Got aches and pains? There are all kinds of simple ways to manage arthritis that can ease discomfort, improve flexibility, and make independent living easier and more enjoyable.
Joint pain. Stiffness. Swelling. Twinges painful enough to elicit an “ouch”. Most people will experience these symptoms at some point in their lives. The good news is there are simple ways to manage arthritis and ease pain, improve flexibility and make independent living easier and more enjoyable.
First understand that there is more than one kind of arthritis:
- Osteoarthritis Arthritis (OA) – By far the most common type, OA sufferers feel pain because the cushioning cartilage between their bones has worn away and the bones are literally rubbing together.
- Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) – This chronic inflammatory condition is caused by an overactive immune system that attacks the skin and joints.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) – This autoimmune arthritis typically causes swelling and pain in the hands, feet, and wrists but it can also affect the knees and shoulders.
Although the types of arthritis are different, many of the most effective ways to ease the pain and stiffness of them are the same.
- Slim Down – Weighing more than you should puts extra pressure on your hips, knees and feet. Dropping a few pounds can make it easier to get around and make you feel less achy. Perhaps most important of all it will help keep your joints from deteriorating further.
- Enjoy Low-Impact Exercise – Splashing around at a water aerobics class, taking a daily walk with a friend, or engaging in gentle yoga or tai chi classes can help strengthen your muscles and give your joints more support. It can improve your flexibility and even help you lose weight .
- Erase Pain with Pressure – A moderate pressure massage can work wonders, especially if you have an inflammatory kind of arthritis. In pressing large nerves, you link the brain with various parts of the body and soothe discomfort while cutting the production of the body’s stress hormone and boosting serotonin levels which promote feelings of well-being.
- Run Hot and Cold – Putting heat and cold treatments on your joints can soothe aches and pains and tamp down inflammation. For heat, try starting the day with a relaxing warm bath or shower. At night, snuggle up with a moist heating pad or electric blanket You can also try over-the-counter topical warming ointments that contain capsaicin. In hot weather, cool off with a gel ice pack. You can even use a bag of frozen peas or corn wrapped in a towel.
- Seek Support – Things like splints, braces, walkers, and canes can make it easier and less painful to get around because they take pressure off your joints. Likewise replacing hard-to-use manual can openers, keyed door locks, and cross handle sink faucets with more ergonomic options are all easy ways to reduce pain and stress.
- Stay Positive – Although arthritis pain affects the body, it can be eased with the mind. You might try relaxation techniques, meditation, slow breathing exercises or even just pleasurable conversations with close friends to feel less stressed and better able to cope with the challenges of dealing with arthritis.
Following these tips to manage arthritis is just one of the ways you can work to maintain comfort and mobility so you can continue to do all the things you love.
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