Although the word arthritis literally means joint inflammation, this medical term is used to describe over 200 conditions that affect the joints. The Symptoms of each one are slightly different from the other but they usually include severe pain and stiffness in the damaged joint which may prevent you from doing many everyday tasks.
As the types of arthritis vary, it is obvious that there are a variety of causes as well. Sometimes it can be caused by tear and wear of the joint that occur due to the aging process or other factors. It can also be caused by some infections, immune system dysfunction, injuries, and inheritance.
What we are trying to say here is that arthritis is not always preventable due to the fact that some of the factors are beyond our control. However, there are some tips to reduce the risk of arthritis or alleviate its symptoms, and here are some of them.
1. Avoid injuries
Joints can wear away as a result of aging, and joint injuries can damage the cartilage, which accelerates the wear and tear. Of course, we all know that accidents can happen all the time and no one can prevent them. But you can use the safety equipment when you play sports and avoid the workouts that can hurt your joints.
2. Be active and exercise moderately
A lot of people who have arthritis tend to have a more sedentary lifestyle and try to put aside exercise permanently. While they are advised to go easy on themselves and get some rest, they should know that over time inactivity can worsen the arthritis pain.
A lot of studies have shown that the best thing you can do is to work out moderately. Exercising makes your muscles and bones stronger and keeps your joints flexible. Stronger muscles provide more support to the joints. But keep in mind that this does not mean that you should push your body beyond its limits as this can damage the joints and make the pain even worse.
3. Lose weight
People with arthritis who are overweight are advised to lose weight. Losing weight can reduce the pressure on joints such as knees and hips. And according to the Arthritis Foundation, each kilogram of your weight adds 3 kilograms of stress on the knees and 6 kilograms on the hips.
Adding more pressure on the joints accelerates the breakdown of the cartilage between the joints, which increases the pain and worsens your condition.
4. Follow the right diet
The right diet should provide all the needed nutrients and help you to lose weight at the same time. Patients who have arthritis are advised to eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as fish and fish oil, as they help to reduce the pain. Fish can be also a great source of vitamin D, and many studies have shown that arthritis is linked to vitamin D deficiency.
You should also eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in vitamin C. Broccoli and spinach, for example, can help you reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
5. Go for a swim
It is believed that swimming can relieve arthritis pain. When you go for a swim, the water supports your body. Therefore, the pressure on your joints will be reduced. And when you swim in a heated pool, the warmth of the water will reduce the pain. On top of that, swimming is considered a good exercise that helps you to strengthen your muscles.
6. Go for a massage therapy
Since the symptoms of arthritis include muscle stiffness, massage can be a great solution. Massage from a professional masseur can help the patients to relieve the pain, as it enhances the blood flow to the joints and eases the stiffness of the muscles, which helps to decrease the inflammation.
There are many studies on the effect of massage on arthritis pain. And all of them have shown that it can help patients feel better due to the reduction of pain and relaxation of the muscles.
Keep in mind that massage is a complementary therapy used along with your medications. And it is always recommended to consult with your doctor before you start your massage therapy and ask them for advice.
7. Have hot and cold therapy
Although this may seem odd to you that both heat and coldness can help you with arthritis. Applying hot packs on the joint enhances the blood flow and helps to relax the stiff muscles around the joint. On the other hand, when you apply cold packs, the blood vessels constrict and this leads to the reduction of the swelling. Of course, you do not have to use both of them. Choose only the one that makes you feel comfortable.
8. Use mobility aids when needed
Although using mobility aids can hurt the self-confidance of many patients, the pain caused by arthritis can hurt even more. Your body has some limits, and you need to know your limits. If the arthritis pain becomes intolerable, do not be embarrassed to use a cane or even a wheelchair.
There are many types of mobility aids, and you can choose the one that best suits you. A cane will gove some support to your knees and help you keep your balance. A wheelchair is a better choice for those who cannot walk or those who can only walk for a short period of time.
9. Consult with your doctor
Talking to your doctor is very important when you have arthritis. If you delay the treatment, the damage will increase more quickly. Pain, swelling and having difficulties with moving can indicate joint damage. And since there are many types of arthritis, you should visit a doctor specilzing in orthopedics as soon as you feel those symptoms.
10. Sleep well
In order to cope with arthritis pain, it is recommended that you have enough sleep. To sleep better, try to stick to a regular sleep scedule and keep the things that can distract you like the TV and the cellphone out of the bedroom.
If the pain makes you feel uncomfortable, try putting some extra pillows as they can reduce the pressure on your joints. You can also take over-the-counter painkillers half an hour before your sleep to allevete your pain.
Moreover, it is very important to take your medicine when needed to help you soothe the pain. If you have any concerns about these drugs, do not stop taking them on your own. Instead, talk to your doctor and consult with him.