5 Tips for Better Arthritis Pain Relief
Arthritis can be debilitating and painful all year round, but many people find that it worsens in the colder months of the year. The aches and stiffness can leave you miserable at best and immobile at worst, and nobody wants to be either of those during the holiday season.
While there is no way to rid your joints of arthritis completely, there are plenty of ways for you to treat the disease, improve your symptoms, and prevent further damage. Here are five tips to help you combat your arthritis pain!
When suffering from arthritis pain, sometimes the last thing you want to do is move the same joints that are causing you such agony. There’s nothing wrong with relaxing after a long day, but excessive lounging – and the weight gain that comes with it – has actually been proven to make arthritis symptoms worse!
If you read the word “exercise” and immediately are filled with dread, you can put your mind at ease. Intense, repetitive workouts like running or weight-lifting can actually do more harm than good for your arthritis. The goal is to strengthen the muscles around your joints without putting too much of an impact on the joints themselves.
Simply getting up and moving the problematic joints is a great way to loosen them up and decrease the pain they’re causing. Going for a brisk walk can oftentimes be enough, but if you want to exercise indoors during the winter months, try riding an exercise bike. The best type of workout for relieving arthritis pain is water aerobics, which you can do at your local gyms.
Eating the Right Diet
Exercising and eating right is important for everyone with arthritis for many reasons, but one of the biggest relates to weight loss. If you’re living an unhealthy lifestyle with minimal movement and an unhealthy diet, then you’re simply adding more weight onto your joints, which can exacerbate the pain, especially if your arthritis is in your hips, knees, or feet.
Even if you’re of a healthy weight, there are still specific foods you can eat that may help combat the symptoms of arthritis. For example, fish (salmon, tuna, trout) are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to fight inflammation. In fact, the omega-3 found in fish are so good for arthritis pain relief that doctors recommend at least 2 ounces of fish a week!
Arthritis pain can also be combated by increasing your calcium and vitamin D intake. Both are known for strengthening bones, which help ease the pain over time. Low-fat dairy products such as cheese and yogurt are packed with these nutrients, but if dairy doesn’t agree with you, you can find just as much calcium and vitamin D in leafy greens.
One of the superfoods for arthritis pain relief is actually cherries! The ingredient that gives a cherry its iconic red color – anthocyanin – has also been proven to relieve arthritis patients of intense pain and stiffness over time. That alone might make it worth investing in some cherry juice!
Hot & Cold Therapy
Just as the joints in your body are reacting to the harsh cold weather outside, they’ll also react to controlled exposure to heat, as well.
This may be a common tactic to everyone suffering from aches and stiffness, with or without arthritis, but it’s worth mentioning due to how much relief it can quickly provide. Something as easy as a nice warm shower in the morning can do wonders for aching joints, and a long bath in warm water can help really loosen up that stiffness. To lessen the aches while you sleep, investing in a heated blanket can really help keep your joints loose.
Heat helps ease the pain by improving blood flow to the heated area, increasing muscle flexibility and even helping to heal damaged tissue. Cold therapy, on the other hand, reduces blood flow to a specific area, which can reduce inflammation and temporarily reduce nerve activity, which also reduces pain.
Heat and cold therapy do different things for different ailments, but switching back and forth between the two has been proven to be extremely effective against arthritis symptoms. Of course, it’s very important to be safe while utilizing heat and cold treatments, as well as never applying heat or cold directly to the skin. Always make sure there is something acting as a barrier in between your bare skin and the hot/cold apparatus! After all, you don’t want to cause yourself even more pain, right?
Arthritis can be an extremely frustrating disease. A lot of people living with it find that the aches can become less physically painful and more emotionally frustrating over time. After spending an entire day fighting against it, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by these negative, self-destructive feelings.
Fortunately, our society’s views on cognitive behavioral therapy have grown a lot more accepting in the past decade, and there’s never been a safer, more accessible time to get the proven mental help that you might want. Behavioral therapists utilize a proven and effective combination of talk therapy and behavior modification to prevent your mind from spiraling downward. By avoiding those mental pitfalls, patients are able to focus more on working through their disease in a positive and confident way.
Stress is another huge mental contributor to arthritis pain. Countless studies have shown that excessive stress in your life can intensify the symptoms of arthritis pain. Relaxation therapy – meditation, yoga classes, listening to soothing music, etc. – are great ways of relieving stress and going back to living a healthy life, both physically and emotionally.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
When you have intense joint pain, getting comfortable long enough to fall asleep for the night can be a very tall order. However, medical experts say that the link between poor sleep and arthritis pain is a vicious cycle: the pain can prevent you from falling asleep, but lack of sleep only increases the pain! So what can you do?
The trick is to develop a sleeping routine, which can be easier said than done, especially in a world dominated by screens. Studies have shown that screens of electronic devices, such as phones or laptops, actually trick your mind into thinking it’s daytime, delaying you from falling into a deep stage of sleep. By turning your phone and TV off, you’re already helping your mind understand that it is, in fact, time to go to sleep.
Something you may want to consider is taking your arthritis medication in the morning instead of at night. Some arthritis medicine is known to cause alertness and insomnia, which makes your sleep patterns suffer even more. And if all else fails, schedule an appointment with your doctor or specialist concerning the matter. They want to help you get a good night’s sleep just as badly as you want to have one, and they’ll be able to find the right treatment to help get you there.
Professional Chiropractic Care in Frederick, MD
We know arthritis pain can be a real drain on your ability to lead a full, fulfilling life. At Lipinski Chiropractic, we help you find safe, natural solutions to your arthritis pain with a customized treatment plan. Schedule your appointment today!