10 Ways to Alleviate Your Arthritis
- Common Pain, Big ProblemArthritis is no small problem. One in three adults has it, and an inactive, overweight, aging population isn't helping that number decline. As the number one reported disability, it also causes a huge financial pain, costing the economy billions annually. Fortunately, it's also a condition you can do much to manage. All it takes is some planning ahead and altering of lifestyle habits.
- 1. Warm It UpProtect yourself from injury and warm your body up before you do physical activity. Also consider guards or braces to reduce injury and alleviate joint stress.
- 2. Get ActiveIt might surprise you that one of the things that can make you feel better is to get moving! Just 30 minutes on most days of the week will do the trick. It will protect your joints by strengthening the muscles around them. Exercise also lessens pain and increases your range of motion. Plus, strong muscles keep your joints from rubbing against one another. So start moving--your joints will thank you for it
- 3. Vary Your WorkoutIt's also a good idea to shift gears and vary your workout, as repetitive motion has been shown to increase the risk for developing arthritis. Try walking one day and biking the next. Biking and swimming offer a great workout, minus excessive amounts of stress on your joints. All the while you're burning calories.
- 4. Trim DownThe more you weigh, the more stress you put on your body--especially the hip, knee, back, and foot joints. Preserve your joints from progressive damage. By losing 5 to 10% of your body weight, if you are overweight, you can reduce joint pain and prevent some forms of arthritis by as much as 50 percent.
- 5. Find the Right Pain Relief MedicationThere are a wide range of medications that can help ease the pain of arthritis. You can try a variety of over-the-counter products, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin or Aleve). If you need something stronger, your doctor can prescribe more potent pain relievers. Some medications have bothersome side effects. You may need to try several medications before finding the one that works best for you.
- 6. Size Up the TaskAbout to lift a heavy box? Use the largest and strongest joint possible to lift it, and carry it close to your body. This will help you avoid straining your smaller joints. If the lifting is too heavy to handle, don't be afraid to seek out an extra set of arms to help you with the task.
- 7. Balance Your DietThere is some scientific evidence that diet can affect certain kinds of arthritis. That said, everyone--with arthritis or not--can benefit from a healthy, well-balanced diet. Research has shown connections between food, nutritional supplements, and certain forms of arthritis. Make sure you get the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals every day. At the very least, a good diet will make you healthier and help keep your weight in check.
- 8. Keep It StraightMaintaining a good posture protects your neck, back, hips, and knees.
- 9. Be Kind, UnwindStress is a common trigger for joint pain and fatigue, so make sure you are taking time to relax and help yourself unwind. Treat yourself to a massage or a warm bath, which can relieve joint pain and ease muscle tension. Or, call up a friend and have her join you on your daily walk and grab some coffee afterward.
- 10. Take the First Step!Arthritis can really impact your life, affecting the way you take care of yourself and your family, as well as interfering with your job performance. Take action today--even the smallest changes can help stave off or control arthritis and boost your overall health!
10 Ways to Alleviate Your Arthritis