Arthritis can be quite debilitating, especially for people who suffer from chronic or severe forms of the disease. While anti-inflammatory drugs and various pain medications can help to relieve the pain of arthritis, they typically only offer temporary relief. However, there are also many natural and effective ways to help reduce arthritis pain, and the following five methods are among the best.
Create a Daily Exercise Regime
First of all, it is highly important for arthritis sufferers to remain as mobile as possible.Daily exercise can help to keep joints flexible, which may reduce arthritis inflammation and pain. Steer away from weight-bearing activities such as running or jogging, as they can actually increase pain. Instead, choose more moderate activities such as light walking, swimming, biking or yoga.
Eat Healthy and Lose Weight
Too much excess weight can place a lot of pressure on joints that are already damaged. With that said, if you are overweight, losing just five or ten pounds can help to reduce chronic pain associated with arthritis. Of course, this means that you may need to alter your current diet and begin choosing healthier foods.
If you are craving a snack, choose fresh fruits or nuts rather than chips or sugary treats. Replace high-calorie soft drinks with unsweetened juice, tea or bottled water. Additionally, because of their high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil supplements can help to reduce joint pain and stiffness.
Make Use of Hot and Cold Therapies
Hot and cold therapies can go a long way in helping to reduce pain brought on by arthritis. Hot therapies, in the form of warm baths, heating pads or heat wraps, help by increasing blood flow to the affected joints. This, in turn, can decrease inflammation, relax tense muscles and reduce joint stiffness.
Cold therapies, in the form of ice packs or cold water soaks, decrease blood flow to the affected areas. These therapies are best used to reduce swelling of joints or to numb severe pain caused by arthritis. Some people find it helpful to alternate between hot and cold therapies depending on their current needs.
Use Assistive Devices if Necessary
Using assistive devices when necessary can help to take the pressure off of painful joints by redistributing your body weight properly. The device you may choose to use depends on your unique condition. However, arthritic patients have found such devices as canes, knee or back braces, and splints to be extremely helpful.
Wearing comfortable low-heeled shoes and special shoe inserts can be beneficial as well, especially for arthritic persons who have arthritis in their knees or small discrepancies in leg length. Knee braces may also help to relieve the discomfort of joints that have become deformed due to advanced cases of arthritis.
Learn the Art of Massage
According to studies conducted by the Arthritis Foundation, regularly performing massage on arthritic joints can significantly reduce both stiffness and pain. While you can certainly seek out the services of a professional massage therapist, you can also learn the art of self massage if you wish.
Massage works by relaxing joints and muscles and improving your range of motion. Resources to learn self massage include your physician, various arthritis organizations or your physical therapist. Teaching your partner how to perform massage techniques can be a fun way to reduce the pain of arthritis as well.
There are just some of the easy and effective ways to reduce pain and stiffness caused by arthritis. Other terrific methods you may want to consider include meditation, acupuncture, herbal supplements, chiropractic services, Glucosamine supplements and various topical ointments.