Arthritis is much more than just the aches and pains of getting older and it can affect people at any age – around two thirds of people with a form of arthritis are under the age of 65. There are more than 100 different diseases and conditions that come within the group of musculoskeletal disorders that is described as arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is perhaps the most common form of arthritis, which is a breakdown of joint cartilage often negatively influenced age, obesity or a history of joint injury. Another very common form of arthritis is Rheumatoid Arthritis, which is where the membranes lining the joints become inflamed, resulting in pain, stiffness and swelling.
For those with arthritis, the daily suffering can be intense and affect many activities that would otherwise be painless, such as lifting or writing. In some cases it can be more debilitating and every movement might be painful. However, there are ways in which these issues can be managed to help keep the worst symptoms at bay – below are a few tips on how to do this:
Look after your joints
The way you move and how you use your joints can have a considerable impact on their overall health. For example, try loosening your grip when picking something up – not to the point of dropping it but avoid over stressing the joint by gripping too tight. You might want to consider spreading the weight when you’re picking something up and use your larger, strong joints wherever you can – for example, if you’re opening a door then involve your arms and shoulders, not just your hands.
When you’re in pain the temptation is often simply to stay as still as possible and hope the pain subsides. However, activity and exercise are actually very good for arthritis and as long as you’re doing the right exercise for your condition and your weight then you will notice considerable improvements. You’ll have more energy, a better range of movement, increased muscle strength, less pain and more effective joint mobility.
Your diet affects every part of your body and a balanced diet that will help you maintain a healthy weight and provide the nutrients the body needs to feed joints and bones is essential. Omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation and arthritis symptoms so include plenty of fish, such as salmon, or nuts, seeds beans, and leafy greens in your diet. Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous types can help in the fight against arthritis and some studies have shown that olive oil can help reduce pain and stiffness thanks to the anti-inflammatory qualities of olives.
Positive thinking is a great way to fight any health condition; it’s also a good way to combat pain. The brain is wired up with the whole of your body, therefore if you think of pain before you experience the pain, it is likely you have triggered your brain into expecting the pain. Trying using positive thoughts and practice being in the now. Positive thinking is now more widely used and researched and can help people reduce the use of pharmaceuticals.
As well as taking care of your body like this you can reduce the stress that arthritis can create by arranging some home care for tasks that have become difficult.
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