People who suffer from arthritis experience inflammation in their joints, which causes pain and stiffness. It's a very common problem that affects millions of people. In fact, one in every five adults in the U.S. has been diagnosed with arthritis by a doctor, and you may be surprised to learn that nearly two thirds of those affected are under 65-years-old.
But you're in luck, because there are many ways to manage arthritis pain, ranging from surgery to home remedies. If you have arthritis, make sure to look into and choose the best solutions for you.
Read on for nine healthy lifestyle tips to help alleviate pain associated with arthritis:
1. Losing weight
You want to avoid putting pressure on your joints. Pressure causes pain and contributes to ongoing deterioration. For every pound you lose, four additional pounds of pressure are removed from your knees.
Working the right type of exercise into your daily routine can actually make the affected joints feel better. Avoid exercise that puts a lot of pressure on joints, such as running. Instead, walk, swim or ride your bike, and do exercises that combine balance with strength training to help you keep your feet firmly on the ground.
3. Avoid injuries
Injured joints are much more likely to develop painful arthritis than non-injured joints. Do whatever you can to avoid falls or any other types of trauma to your joints.
4. Hot and cold therapy
Many people find a good deal of relief taking warm showers or baths in the morning to get their joints ready for the activity of the day. Once pain has set in, try using an ice pack to quickly relieve pain.
This is a solution that doesn't work for everyone, but some sufferers swear that acupuncture significantly reduces pain. Others have conducted studies that show acupuncture is better than a placebo for relieving pain, but not good enough to be labeled a cure. Try it out for yourself to see if it's a good solution for you to manage your pain.
6. Pain medication
There are any number of over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications claiming to relieve arthritis pain. But keep in mind that even OTC medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be harmful to your health if you use them on a long-term basis. Look into alternatives to pain relief medications, rather than using them as your sole source to relieve your arthritis.
Studies have found that meditation can help to manage arthritis pain. It doesn't really matter whether meditation actually blocks pain receptors or simply reduces stress to allow you to cope more effectively. If the result is better pain management, give it a try.
8. Self-help devices
There are a variety of devices that will help you to minimize pain. Look for products that help you maintain the best position for optimum joint function, give you additional leverage and extend your reach. Some examples include: zipper pulls, long-handled shoe horns, electric can openers, long-handled grippers for reaching objects on high shelves, bars and handrails in the bathroom and soft "kneelers" for gardening.
9. Surgery (A last resort)
There is controversy over using surgery to manage arthritis. Joint lavage (flushing the joints) and arthroscopic debridement (removing tissue fragments from the bone) are promoted by some, but other studies have shown little success. Patients have found more success with eliminating the problem altogether with partial or complete joint replacement surgery.
Arthritis is an ongoing issue for millions of Americans. If you suffer from arthritis, keep in mind that you are not alone. In addition to doing everything you can to minimize how much arthritis impacts your life, don't hesitate to reach out to the community of people that can help you with their own insights and support.
Health: 13 Natural Remedies for Arthritis
Healthline: Natural Relief From Arthritis Pain
Arthritis Foundation: Self-help Arthritis Devices
Center For Disease Control and Prevention: Arthritis, Addressing the Nation’s Most Common Cause of Disability