May is National Arthritis Month
Arthritis affects one in five adults, and is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Since May is National Arthritis Awareness Month we wanted to share a few things to help manage arthritis. Unfortunately it’s not always possible to prevent arthritis, but it is possible to still live an active and healthy life with it.
Exercise – Gentle exercise is a great way to keep joints moving and avoid the stiffness many arthritis sufferers complain of. Exercise also builds muscle strength, which can help build muscle that surrounds joints and protects them. It is valuable to incorporate stretching into your exercise plan too, as it will also help keep joints flexible.
Diet – A well balanced diet can limit the symptoms of arthritis, as it can help in maintaining a healthy weight, which alleviates arthritis pain by taking excess pressure off the joints. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids can also help in reducing inflammation, eliminating some of the pain arthritis sufferers experience.
Rest – While exercise is important for those with arthritis, it’s also valuable to let the joints rest. It’s important for each person to find a balance that works well for him or her. Taking the time to rest and recover also helps prevent injury, which can further aggravate arthritis.
Physical Therapy – If exercise alone is not enough, it may be beneficial to enlist the help of a physical therapist. A therapist can develop a personalized program that incorporates the best movements for eliminating joint pain without the need for medication.
Ice and Heat – Applying ice or heat to affected areas can help ease pain.
In some cases adopting all these tips into your lifestyle is not enough to remove the need medication or for other treatments. If you have arthritis or suspect you may be developing arthritis, it is important to meet with a doctor for a full examination and blood work. Once the proper tests and exams are done, the doctor can discuss proper treatment options and the medications for your health and well-being. The physician can also advise on other lifestyle changes you should make to best manage your pain. While there are challenges to living with arthritis, with proper care and prevention it is possible to maintain an active and enjoyable lifestyle.