An estimated 40 million Americans are living with arthritis, an inflammatory condition affecting joints. While there are over 100 types of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common. Both types cause joint inflammation and pain and can cause disability if left untreated.
An arthritis diagnosis means you have a chronic pain condition that can make maintaining an active life difficult. Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness can significantly impact your quality of life, but it’s possible to live an active and happy life with arthritis.
Bonaventure Ngu, MD and our team at Premier Spine Institute offer a variety of pain management solutions for people with arthritis. If you or a loved one has arthritis, read on to learn about some of the best techniques to manage your condition in daily life.
1. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet
Inflammation is a leading cause of joint pain and stiffness for people living with arthritis. Some foods help reduce inflammation in the body and can help you manage arthritis pain in your daily life.
Anti-inflammatory foods to consider adding to your diet include fish, fruits and vegetables, nuts, and beans. High-fiber foods, like whole-grain bread, can also help reduce inflammation.
2. Maintain a healthy weight
Extra weight puts extra pressure and strain on your joints, which contributes to arthritis pain and can lead to additional complications. If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight can significantly improve joint pain.
Small changes in your lifestyle can help you shed extra pounds and keep them off long-term. If you are at a healthy weight, maintaining your weight with a healthy diet and exercise can help keep joint pain from getting worse.
3. Exercise regularly
Regular, low-impact exercise helps keep your joints moving, preventing pain and stiffness. Choose activities that strengthen muscles but aren’t hard on joints. Swimming, walking, and cycling are all good options for people with arthritis.
In addition to aerobic exercise, consider adding gentle stretches to your daily routine. Dr. Ngu and our team can help you find simple stretches that move your joints through their full range of motion.
4. Know when to rest
Staying active is important if you have arthritis, but so is listening to your body. Don’t be afraid to take a break and rest when you feel like you need to. Elevate sore joints and use heat or cold to help reduce inflammation and pain.
A heating pad, used for periods of 20 minutes at a time, can relieve arthritis pain. Ice packs can treat sore muscles and inflammation after exercise.
5. Take advantage of assistive devices
If you have arthritis, don’t be embarrassed to use devices that make daily life easier on your joints. Assistive devices, like a walker or cane, can make it easier to walk. For some people, shoe inserts provide pain relief.
Using assistive devices can make it easier for you to perform daily tasks, which helps you maintain your quality of life and manage your condition.
6. Stop smoking
Smoking cigarettes contributes to a wide range of health issues, including arthritis. Toxins in cigarette smoke directly impact connective tissue around joints and may make arthritis worse.
A smoking habit also increases your risk of complications if you have surgery. Some patients choose joint replacement as a treatment option for arthritis, and this may not be a safe option for smokers.
7. Add natural supplements to your diet
A number of supplements, vitamins, and minerals may help reduce inflammation and arthritis pain. Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, as well as minerals like zinc, calcium, iron, and magnesium, all play important roles in overall health.
Some people with arthritis find capsaicin, turmeric, and a variety of other supplements can improve arthritis symptoms. Talk to your health care team to find out which supplements might be a good addition to your arthritis management plan.
8. Find a treatment that works for you
Arthritis is a chronic condition that affects each patient differently. Treatment to manage pain and keep you moving can include oral or topical medication, stem cell therapy, and other pain management techniques.
Talk to our team to find out what arthritis treatment methods could be right for you. Give yourself time when trying a new medication or making lifestyle adjustments to see how changes can improve your quality of life.
For comprehensive pain management, come to Premier Spine Institute. Make your first appointment by calling one of our convenient office locations or booking online today.