Arthritis is a common health condition that primarily affects older individuals, but it can also damage the joints of younger adults, teenagers and children. There are numerous types of arthritis that can make mobility more difficult. You may have arthritis in only one joint because it was damaged by an injury, but it is more common to have this medical issue in several joints throughout the body. The best way to understand what type of arthritis you have is by visiting a rheumatologist who can diagnose and treat the various forms of the condition.
With the proper daily lifestyle and medical treatment, arthritis doesn’t need to slow you down. Here are six ways that you can continue to remain active despite having arthritis.
Change Your Diet
A plant-based diet with numerous fruits and vegetables and fresh produce can provide additional nutrients to repair your body’s damaged cartilage and bones. Many nutritionists recommend eating fatty fish include salmon, mackerel and tuna because they contain omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce your discomfort. Other foods to add to your menu include whole-grain bread along with low-fat dairy foods.
You already know that smoking is bad for your lungs, but it can also inflame your body’s tissues, leading to additional swelling and pain in your arthritic joints. If you are having trouble giving up cigarettes, then you should join a smoking cessation program or talk to your doctor about other options to help you quit.
If you feel stiff and sore, the application of heat on your joints can soothe the sensitive bones and cartilage to help you to feel better. It is particularly important to remain warmer at night when your body’s at rest, so stay warm by keeping the thermostat up or by using devices like an electric blanket or a warming mattress pad. During the day, you can alleviate the discomfort in your joints with a hot shower or by using a heating pad.
Take Your Prescription Medications
Your rheumatologist may prescribe a variety of medications for your arthritic pain or to protect your joints from additional damage. In addition to taking pain relievers, you may need to take anti-inflammatory medications or corticosteroids. There are new types of prescription medications being developed each year for arthritis, so talk to your physician about the best types to take for your particular type of arthritis.
While heat is effective to relax joints, cold therapy can be an effective way to swelling. You can make your own ice pack treatments with ice cubes from your home’s freezer, or you can buy specialized cold therapy devices that you can wrap around a knee, wrist or elbow. Use the ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes every few hours so that you can reduce the swelling and pain in the arthritic joint.
A rheumatologist will tell you to lose weight because it can help your arthritic joints to feel better. This is especially important for the weight-bearing joints that include the hips, knees and ankles. Look for low impact options such as water aerobics, yoga or Pilates.
You may worry about exercising due to the fear of falling while you are alone. Fortunately, you can wear a medical alert device that you can use to request help from an emergency response operator. If your device is equipped with Automatic Fall Detection, you can get help after a fall even if you can’t push your help button.