Arthritis symptoms can be both hindered or improved through habits that
we fall into. Here are some smart tips to help improve the way you feel
overall in your day to day life and some actions to avoid if you do suffer
Lose weight: Extra weight puts added pressure on joints, especially knees, hips and
feet. In fact,
according to Webmd: “a new study shows that for each pound of body weight lost, there
is a four-pound reduction in knee joint stress among overweight and obese
people with osteoarthritis of the knee.” Losing weight is no small
feat when your body is aching so being mindful of moving more and remember
the quality of your nutritional habits becomes more valuable!
Move more: Regular movement (aka: exercise) helps to maintain flexibility in the joints.
Keep yourself moving by doing low impact exercise that avoids pounding
the joints, such as running. Try low impact exercises like water aerobics,
cycling, Pilates, Yoga or swimming instead. Also, avoid these exercises:
deep squatting or lunges, high impact sports, stairs, and other repetitive
motions. Also, please note that if you are experiencing swelling, sharp
pain or pain that causes you to limp or change the way you move, avoid
exercise. If the pain persists or includes redness and heat at the site,
see your doctor. Staying in motion will still be important, but should
be guided by a professional.
Use hot and cold to your advantage: Heat can help alleviate the stiffness associated with arthritis and ease
joint pain. Take long, warm showers or baths. Hand wash dishes in warm
water to keep your fingers moving with ease. Make bean or rice hot pads
you can microwave and use at home or work for a quick dose of heat relief.
If you experience swelling and inflammation, use frozen vegetables in
a towel as an ice pack for pain reduction.
Try acupuncture: Acupuncture can help with circulation and reduce inflammation from arthritis.
This complementary therapy can work hand-in-hand with traditional western
medicinal therapies, without side effects. You can find relief in this
traditional eastern medicine from an acupuncturist, and some physical
therapists are even offering similar treatments now. Massage therapy can
also be a great option to fight pain, stiffness and even improve range
Eat turmeric: Turmeric is a yellow spice that is commonly a flavor of Indian dishes and
has a pain fighting chemical called curcumin that can help alleviate arthritis
pain. This wonder spice and the curcumin have anti-inflammatory properties!
Before you add the spice or begin using any over the counter pain relievers,
visit with your pharmacist. It’s important to ensure that any medications
you are currently taking won’t interact with herbal supplements.
Limit your stress and worrying: Researchers aren’t sure exactly how stress can bring on arthritis
symptoms, but recent research implies that high levels of stress can disturb
sleep, cause high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and can contribute
to other illnesses. As stress builds, the body releases chemicals into
the blood stream that are intended to help fight stressful events. Eventually
these chemicals can cause damage to the body if they aren’t “burned
off” over time. Work on reducing stress in your life to limit these
harmful effects and pain from arthritis. Try meditation, work with a counselor
or confide in a friend. Limit your exposure to stressful situations and
keep life simple as possible.
Verywell Health—The Effect of Stress on Arthritis: Stress Compounds the Burden of
Healthline: Natural Relief From Arthritis Pain
Campbell County Health's
Wellness works to reduce health risks and promote overall wellness among employee
groups and individuals across the northeastern Wyoming region. To learn
more about Wellness, please visit
www.cchwyo.org/Wellness or call 307.688.8051.
Rachel Wilde, PBT, CPT, MA, works at CCH Wellness as a Technician and Phlebotomist