Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. More than 50 million adults have some form of arthritis. When you have arthritis, your body is in an inflammatory state and can cause pain, discomfort, and limit your mobility. The good news is there are many natural things you can do to ease these symptoms. Natural methods can be a good first start to minimize effects on the body and allow the body to heal and balance itself.
Losing a single pound of body weight can take 4 lbs of pressure off of your hips, knees, feet, and ankles. Losing 10 -20 lbs means taking 40-80 lbs of pressure off your body. Gentle, non-impact exercise can also be helpful. Activities such as swimming, biking, and isometrics are good choices. When it comes to aerobic activities, the Stairmaster and Arc trainer are excellent choices as, unlike running on a treadmill, they are non-impact due to your feet not leaving the foot platform, thus limiting repetitive impact on your joints. By using light weights, you can strengthen your muscles, which helps protect your joints, improves range of motion, and decreases pain. Yoga is also an excellent choice as it can improve range of motion and flexibility.
It’s a good idea to avoid running, jumping, and any activities that impact your joints. Applying ice to your joints for 20 minutes after activities or when feeling pain can help reduce the inflammation. Orthopedic braces called osteoarthritis or unloader braces are a non-invasive approach that can help reduce pain and prevent the condition from getting worse. These braces are designed to restore normal weight distribution of your body and also take pressure off the knee, resulting in less pain. Most importantly, however, it is important to listen to your body, as everyone’s body and limitations are different. Too much exercise is not good either.
Acupuncture can also reduce inflammation and ease pain. It helps the body produce endorphins, which can inhibit the perception of pain and deactivate trigger points that are often found around the joint. Acupuncture also promotes relaxation and reduces stress, helping the body promote healing. Meditation can also reduce stress and tension, therefore helping to reduce pain.
If you are a smoker, quitting is a great idea not just for the obvious health benefits, but also because smoking can cause stress on connective tissue, leading to more pain.
Different foods that can cause inflammation. Keeping the following foods to a minimum can help to reduce inflammation in your body: Dairy, milk, sugar, alcohol, trans fats, fast foods, saturated fats, fried foods, refined carbs such as white flour products, white rice, white potatoes, and lots of cereals.
Foods that can decrease inflammation include: Salmon, walnuts, omega 3 fish oil, extra virgin olive oil, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, carrots, oranges, grape fruits, strawberries, broccoli, blue berries, plums, pineapples, and raspberries.
It is important to understand your physical limits and listen to your body. Start making these changes today so you can ease your pain and enjoy more quality time with your grandchildren for many years to come.
Note: Please consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise or nutrition program.