Today I Learned...
- There are many things you can do to manage your arthritis.
- The key is to keep it simple and focus on your overall health.
- By keeping your body strong and healthy, it will be able to withstand the stress of living with a chronic condition like arthritis.
rthritis can cause a lot of pain and discomfort, but there are ways to help make it more manageable.
In this article, we'll go over some of the ways you can cope with the symptoms and pain of arthritis as an older adult.
Can exercise help with my arthritis?
Exercise is one of the best ways to manage arthritis pain. It can also help you lose weight, build muscle strength and mobility, improve balance and flexibility and enhance your mood.
Exercise can help you feel more confident in your body image. Being active helps you maintain a healthy weight and keep from gaining back any pounds lost during weight loss programs.
It's important to exercise regularly for the best results. If you're able, start out with 10 minutes of light activity such as walking at least three times per week. Then increase your activity level over time until you're doing 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity on most days.
What are some arthritis-friendly activities?
If you have arthritis, there are some activities that can make your symptoms worse. It’s important to find activities that do not cause pain and are low impact, low intensity, and repetitive. Here are some examples of arthritis-friendly activities:
- cycling (stationary or road)
- walking (indoors or outdoors)
Do I need to lose weight if I have arthritis?
Weight loss is not a cure for arthritis, but it can help make you feel better. Here are some reasons why weight loss can help manage your arthritis pain:
- Weight loss may ease joint pain in some people with arthritis.
- Weight loss may reduce symptoms of other conditions that affect people with arthritic joints, such as diabetes and heart disease.
- Weight loss can also help reduce stiffness and swelling in arthritic joints.
Are there foods that can help when you're living with arthritis?
The foods you eat can help or hurt your arthritis symptoms. Find out what to eat, what not to eat, and how to ease some of the pain with these natural remedies. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that may help fight joint pain caused by arthritis. They are found in fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel; flaxseed oil; chia seeds; hemp seeds; walnuts; avocados, and soybeans.
- Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory agent that may reduce joint stiffness caused by osteoarthritis and other inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
- Vitamin D deficiency is associated with higher rates of rheumatoid arthritis than most other types of arthritis, according to research published in Arthritis Care & Research. Getting enough vitamin D could help protect against developing RA in the future.
Should I be concerned about joint pain?
The most common symptom of arthritis is joint pain. Joint pain is generally mild and goes away after a few days. It often is worse in the morning, but it can also occur at night, during physical activity, or when you are resting.
If you have arthritis, your joints may hurt for several reasons:
- Arthritis affects the cartilage that cushions your bones as they move and rub together; as cartilage wears down over time, your joints become stiffer and more painful.
- Inflammation caused by arthritis can make your muscles stiffer and less flexible than usual; this causes increased strain on the joints and makes it difficult to move them smoothly or quickly.
What should I do if my joints are swollen and red?
If you notice that your joints are swollen and red, it's important to call your doctor. Swelling can be a sign of something more serious than arthritis, such as a bacterial or fungal infection.
While you're waiting for them to call back, there are some things you can do at home in the meantime:
- Use a cold compress (such as ice) on the joint. This will help reduce swelling and pain.
- Use a warm compress (such as heat) on the joint if it's causing discomfort due to muscle spasms or tightness caused by swelling (this may also help reduce inflammation).
- Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for any pain or fever associated with an inflamed joint.
Sometimes small changes are all you need.
Lastly, here are some small lifestyle choices you can make that will help with the management and prevention of arthritis pain:
- Get a good night's sleep.
- Take a hot shower or bath.
- Use a heating pad or ice pack on your joints to relieve pain and increase blood flow to the area.
- Use a pillow or bolster under your knees when you're sitting or lying down, which will help keep them flexed while they're bearing weight. You can also prop up your feet on pillows if you find that more comfortable; this helps distribute the weight evenly between both legs so that neither gets overworked and fatigued.
- Make sure your mattress is firm enough so that it supports the natural curvature of your spine while allowing it to sink in slightly at the points where most people have some degree of spinal flexibility (for example, around their hips). If this isn't possible for whatever reason, try putting an extra pillow beneath each knee as mentioned above so that there's more support underneath them as well as between them—this could make all the difference in keeping pain at bay!
There are many things you can do to manage your arthritis. The key is to keep it simple and focus on your overall health.
By keeping your body strong and healthy, it will be able to withstand the stress of living with a chronic condition like arthritis.
- Check out our class: Arthritis Management & Relief
- Arthritis Pain Management