Arthritis is a chronic condition that affects the joints in the body resulting in pain, stiffness, swelling, and tenderness. As with many other chronic conditions, the things you do as well as the things you don't do can impact your joint health and the pain you experience. For most sufferers, this means following an arthritis-friendly, anti-inflammatory diet, supplementation, weight management, and stress relief slows the progression of this painful condition, reduces joint pain, and improves the overall quality of life.
There are many different types of arthritis; however, the basic definition is inflammation that occurs in the joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of this painful joint disease. This disease often occurs in middle aged and elderly individuals and is caused by erosion of the joint tissues, including the cartilage, bone, and ligaments. Another type is rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system begins attacking the joints in the body.
What are the symptoms of arthritis?
- Grinding sensation
- Joint deformities
- Pain that occurs in or near the joints
Lifestyle changes that can ease arthritis pain
When you first receive an arthritis diagnosis, it can be overwhelming. Although there is no cure, you can slow down the progression of the disease with a number of lifestyle changes. The sooner you begin making these changes, the more you can protect your joints and relieve the symptoms associated with this painful joint disease. Let's take a look at the top lifestyle changes you should make to help ease your pain.
Dietary changes for arthritis
When you suffer from a chronic disease like arthritis, a healthy diet is essential to your joint health. A healthy diet involves lean proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Healthy eating ensures you have the nutrients and building blocks needed for optimal joint health, improved energy levels, and reduced systemic inflammation.
One key nutrient every sufferer needs is protein. Individuals who are suffering from this painful condition often have reduced muscle mass. The muscles in the body protect the joints and bones in the body, which is why increased muscle mass is necessary. Following a high protein diet along with strength training exercises builds muscles, improves bone health, and relieves the discomfort associated with arthritis.
Stress relief strategies for arthritis
Having arthritis not only affects your physical health, but it can also affect your mental health. Living with a chronic medical condition like arthritis can leave you feeling depressed, overwhelmed, and stressed out. These emotions can actually make your pain worse and interfere with your ability to enjoy life. Stress relief techniques in conjunction with daily exercise, a healthy diet, and joint support supplements are key to improving your health and relieving many of the symptoms associated with this excruciating joint condition. Luckily, there are many strategies you can use to decrease your stress levels, improve your joint health, and reduce the pain associated with joint damage and inflammation.
Acupuncture stimulates the brain and causes it to release endorphins and serotonin, which have been shown to relieve stress and reduce pain levels. A certified acupuncturist will use fine needles to balance chi along the 14 energy channels in the body. Acupuncture is extremely calming and effective at improving the joint health of an individual.
Soaking in a tub of hot water relieves painful joints, reduces joint swelling, improves circulation, and reduces inflammation in your joints. For best results, add Epsom salt to your bathwater to help further relieve your pain. To help ensure you remain hydrated, drink a glass of water before your bath. Light some candles, add a calming essential oil like lavender to your bath, and enjoy a glass of wine to relieve your stress and reduce your pain.
Journaling is an effective stress relief method that helps reduce the symptoms of arthritis. Journaling involves writing down your thoughts and fears to help you gain perspective. It allows you to unburden yourself by expressing the frustrations and feelings that you may not feel comfortable sharing with others. Once you have written everything down, re-read your journal entry to help you be more objective, have a better outlook on life, and gain a better perspective of your diagnosis.
Massage is a great way to relieve the pain and stiffness associated with this joint disease. Regular massage not only relieves pain but also has been shown to improve an individual's range of motion and overall joint function. Finally, massage can help decrease cortisol production and boost serotonin production for an improved mood.
Meditation is a great way to calm your mind and help you think and see more clearly. Meditation can be performed anywhere. All you need is a quiet place where you can get comfortable. Most people find that closing their eyes and focusing on their breathing or chanting a mantra (word or phrase) can help you stay present while being able to release your stress and worry. As you practice meditation, your stress levels and pain levels will decrease.
Yoga is a stress relieving practice that helps you become better aware of your body. The primary focus of yoga is the stretch and strengthen your muscles. As you practice yoga, your body and mind will begin to relax, the strain on your joints will decrease, and your pain will begin to minimize. For best results, practice yoga for at least 90 minutes a week to reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
Weight management for arthritis
Being overweight or obese puts excess pressure on your joints and can lead to increased inflammation, stiffness, and wear and tear on your joints, resulting in increased joint pain. There are several things you can do to manage your weight to improve bone health, relieve joint pain, and reduce inflammation.
Regular exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight. In addition to this, exercise releases natural pain killing endorphins. To help improve bone health, reduce your inflammation, and relieve your pain, combine strength training exercises with aerobic activity and flexibility exercises. Swimming, cycling, and walking are all joint-friendly exercises shown to relieve inflammation and pain.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant found in colorful fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C helps to reduce systemic inflammation and promote the healing of damaged tissues. Take a vitamin and mineral supplement and eat foods rich in vitamin C daily to help reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
Arthritis is a chronic medical condition that causes joint damage, inflammation, pain, tenderness, joint deformity, and swelling. If you have been diagnosed with this painful condition, you can help to reduce your pain and the other symptoms associated with this medical condition by eating a healthy diet, practicing stress relief techniques, managing your weight, and taking joint support supplements. Take the power out of arthritis and begin enjoying your life again naturally with these lifestyle modifications.