Millions of Americans suffer daily from painful, stiff and swollen joints due to inflammation and arthritis. The following simple lifestyle changes can help you find natural relief from the painful side effects of arthritis, as you consider the various treatment options available.
1. Physical Therapy. By enrolling in a rehabilitation program, a physical therapist can teach you how to work out stiffness, without doing damage to your joints, and you can learn how to modify everyday tasks while limiting the strain placed on your joints. Physical therapy treatment may include:
- Modalities such as heat, ice, ultrasound and electrical stimulation
- Manual therapies to improve motion
- Stretching exercises to improve flexibility
- Strengthening exercises
- Balance activities
- Sports-specific training
- Home exercise programs
- Patient and family education
2. Hydrotherapy. Using water, ice, or steam, hydrotherapy gently massages your body to help ease aches and pains, while increasing circulation. Try these soothing and relaxing methods to find relief:
- Take a bath. A hot, twenty-minute bath at night can reduce inflammation
and sooth aching joints by increasing blood flow throughout your body.
- Spice up your morning shower. If you wake up with stiffness, alternate between hot and cold water for about ten minutes to feel more comfortable throughout the day.
3. Dietary Changes. Did you know that certain foods can trigger joint pain? Trigger foods include cow’s milk, coffee, sugary foods, fried foods, chocolate, beef, pork, green peppers, eggplant, potatoes, and tomatoes. Along with following the golden rule of eight glasses of water a day, try incorporating these beneficial foods into your diet for more relief:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Studies show that eating fish can boost production of resolvins, anti-inflammatory fats, which may suppress the activity of inflammatory cells.
- Antioxidants. Foods rich in antioxidants, especially pomegranates, may
protect your cartilage by reducing inflammation.
- Spices. Ginger, turmeric, and cloves contain powerful compounds and
antioxidants that can slow cartilage and bone damage caused by arthritis.
- Pineapple. Along with being a delicious snack, fresh pineapple contains
bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme that can help reduce inflammation and pain.
4. Exercise. Regular exercise has several benefits for those that suffer from arthritis and joint pain. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise helps relieve joints from extra weight.
- Do. Activities like yoga, walking, swimming, and biking help increase blood circulation, strengthen tissue around joints, and slow joint deterioration.
- Don’t. Avoid heavy weight lifting and running on hard pavement, as they put additional pressure on your joints.