Arthritis is a common musculoskeletal condition that affects elderly men and women. Joint pain, stiffness and inflammation are the most common symptoms of this condition. This pain can get so bad as to affect your movement and leave you unable to do simple things like walking up stairs or even simply turning a doorknob.
Arthritis cannot be reversed but with medication and a few lifestyle changes, your quality of life can be improved.
- Exercise and weight loss: Though it is difficult to do, losing weight can help relieve the pain of arthritis. This takes the pressure off your joints and increases the range of possible motions. Though exercising may be the last thing you want to do, it can help increase your flexibility and help strengthen your muscles. Aerobics, stretching and strength training are ideal for arthritic patients.
- Assistive devices: Arthritis can make a person knock kneed or bow legged. Wearing unloading braces, shoe inserts or walking with a cane or shoe inserts can help redistribute your weight and take the pressure of your joints. It can also help relieve pain and prevent arthritis from worsening.
- Eating right: Some types of food can worsen arthritic symptoms. This includes processed foods like white flour and sugar, yeast, chemical additives, gluten, hydrogenated and trans fats, milk products, caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. Hence, avoid consuming these foods and instead have a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grain. You could also try alkaline foods like green leafy vegetables, wheatgrass and aloe vera.
- Massage therapy: A massage not only de-stresses the body, but can also relieve muscle and joint pain by improving blood circulation. Massages also help break up muscular waste deposits and increase the amount of oxygen circulated in the body. This helps transport nutrients to tissues and carries toxins away. Ideally, an arthritic patient should have a massage 2-3 times a week in the beginning and at least twice a month once the condition has stabilised.
- Supplements: Along with eating healthy, including a few supplements in your daily diet can also help alleviate arthritic symptoms. When it comes to rheumatic arthritis; the anti-inflammatory properties of vitamin C help fight arthritis by promoting bone and cartilage growth and reducing infection. Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation, Vitamin D is another supplement that helps relieve arthritic pain by helping the bones absorb calcium faster and preventing further loss of cartilage. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a rheumatologist.