Arthritis is a common disease that affects millions of Americans over the age of 65. It is the leading cause of disability and can lead to chronic, everyday pain. There are several types of arthritis, and symptoms can vary from person-to-person. It must be diagnosed by a physician, and you should talk to your doctor about the ways to manage your arthritis pain. There is no known cure for arthritis, but there are several remedies that can ease the pain of aching joints. If you suffer from painful, stiff, or swollen joints due to arthritis pain, you might find relief by using the following therapies.
Heat and Cold
Temperature techniques have been used for centuries to soothe pain. Heat increases blood flow to the affected area, which eliminates some waste products in the bloodstream, relaxes the muscle, and decreases inflammation. Heating pads and warm baths may help ease the soreness from stiff, slow moving joints. Furthermore, patients have reported an increase in arthritis pain during weather periods with low barometric pressure and high humidity, such as before a storm. A warm, dry climate may help decrease the pressure in your joints.
On the other hand, cold therapy can be used to reduce painful swollen joints by decreasing the blood flow to the affected area. This reduces inflammation, which is the cause of the burning sensation arthritis patients experience. Cold also slows down pain signals from the nerves to the brain. Using an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables on inflamed joints can be beneficial, as long as the device is not applied longer than 20 minutes. Also, a medium should be placed between the device and the skin, such as a towel to prevent damage.
Managing your weight will take pressure off of your knees and feet, which can reduce arthritis pain in these areas. While losing weight requires the most commitment from patients, it is one of the best remedies for pain. Devices that redistribute weight can also be beneficial. Canes, braces, shoe splints, walkers and other devices will relieve some of the weight you are putting on your lower joints when going about your day. It can prevent certain types of arthritis from becoming worse.
Arthritis pain may make exercise more difficult. However, regular exercise is recommended to keep joints flexible and the pain at bay. Low impact workouts will increase your mobility without putting too much stress on your sore joints. Some of the following activities are suggested for patients to keep active and manage arthritis pain:
- Yoga: Helps reduce joint inflammation
- Water Workouts: Relieves the pressure on joints
- Walking: Strengthens bones without too much impact on joints
- Tai Chi: Can reduce pain while increasing mobility
- Stationary Cycling: Low impact cardio for people with ankle pain
- Gardening: Can reduce symptoms of depression associated with RA
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