As a formidable source of chronic pain, arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability across the globe. Today, roughly 350 million people worldwide suffer from arthritis, including nearly 40 million in the United States. Fortunately, there’s nearly as many treatments for arthritis as there are people who suffer from it.
Many people treat their arthritis with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications like Ibuprofen, but the long-term use of these solutions can sometimes have serious side effects, including an increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure, heart attack, kidney disease, and more. That’s why it’s important to consider many elements from the spectrum of treatment options available to alleviate arthritis pain. Although there’s no cure for arthritis, there are many treatments that can help.
Hot and Cold Treatment
Many people find that they can reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis with the simple application of heat or cold. For arthritis pain relief with heat, you can try soaking the affected area in a comfortably warm bath, Jacuzzi, or shower. You may also consider using warmer sheets in your bed, such as flannel, or bringing a hot water bottle in a towel with you for your extremities. For cold treatment, simply apply an ice bag or a bag of frozen vegetables to the affected area for ten minutes.
To remain safe with hot and cold treatments, remember that you shouldn’t sleep with the heating or cooling agent on yourself, and to always ensure your skin is dry and healthy before using heat or cold. Allow your skin temperature to return to normal between treatments, and don’t apply heat or cold to one area for more than 20 minutes at a time.
An anti-arthritis exercise regimen should incorporate a variety of range-of-motion exercises that can help give your joint pain relief. This includes activities like yoga, walking, Pilates, water workout, tai-chi, cycling, gardening, and the like. Provided that you avoid weight-bearing exercises like running, and stick to low-impact alternatives like aerobics, the sky is the limit when it comes to arthritis exercise.
Of course, it’s worth mentioning that it’s important not to neglect a general fitness routine to help support your heart, lungs, and muscular system. This is particularly true if your weight is causing extra stress on your joints, which may reduce mobility, increase the pain of arthritis, and increase the chance of suffering future joint damage.
Many people who suffer from arthritis have been able to better manage the pain of their condition with a few simple additions to their diet. This is because the underlying cause of rheumatoid arthritis pain is inflammation in the lining of the joints. Green tea, olive oil, carotene, and vitamin C all have natural anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce the pain of arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids have proven to be an invaluable ally in the fight against joint stiffness and inflammation. Studies have also shown that gamma-linolenic acid, available in hemp, borage, and primrose, can be equally valuable in a diet aimed at reducing inflammation.
Listen to your body
Beyond keeping to the sage wisdom of appropriate diet and exercise, it’s equally important to pay attention to what your body is telling you throughout the day about stressing your joints. Try to be aware of the positions you put yourself in, and avoid putting too much pressure on your hands and fingers. If you’re carrying a bag, use your shoulder rather than your fingers and joints to carry the weight. Don’t remain in a single position for too long, and try to recognize signs you’re getting tired.
While it can be difficult to notice these changes as they occur, simply paying attention to the signals your body is sending you can be one of the best steps you can take to prevent further arthritis pain.
What are you doing to manage your arthritis pain? Share what’s worked for you in the comments below!