If you have arthritis, joint pain is likely to be an unwelcome and persistent visitor. But thankfully, there are many things you can do to ease the discomfort and improve your mobility both at home and when you’re out and about. Arthritis is a condition that can affect any of the joints in the body, such as the fingers, hands, knees, hips and ankles. It commonly affects older people but can occur at any age. People with arthritis tend to experience more pain in their joints than healthy individuals because of a buildup of cartilage under the surface of the bones. This makes movement much more difficult than it should be. Although there is no cure for arthritis itself, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce its impact on your life and reduce the symptoms of ageing – here’s how.
If you have any type of joint pain, it’s important to stretch the affected area. This will help to restore some of the flexibility of your muscles and joints, which may have become stiff and tight over time as a result of arthritis. Stretching exercises can be done both in your home and in the gym.
- Static stretching – This type of stretching can be done either standing, sitting or lying down. To do this, simply stretch the joint you want to stretch and hold it for 30 seconds.
- Dynamic stretching – This type of stretching involves moving the joint in a slow and controlled way to help improve your joint mobility and muscle strength. This type of stretching is particularly helpful if you have arthritis in your knees and ankles. To do this, simply bend and straighten the joint as far as possible without causing too much discomfort. When stretching, make sure to listen to your body. If you feel any pain, you’ve pushed the stretch too far and should ease up a bit.
Hot and Cold Therapy
To help reduce any joint pain and stiffness, you can try alternating between hot and cold therapy. This can also help to reduce inflammation and swelling which are common characteristics of arthritis.
- Hot therapy – Apply a heating pad or a heated compress for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time to the joints that are causing you pain. You can also try soaking in a hot tub for about 15 minutes. Hot water can help to relax the muscle fibers, reduce pain and increase blood flow to the affected area.
- Cold therapy – If you want to try cold therapy, you can either apply an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a cloth to the affected joints. Alternatively, you can try a cold compress, which can be bought at most pharmacies.
Limiting Activities that Cause Pain
If you suffer from joint pain, it’s important to identify activities that cause pain. This will help you to make changes to your lifestyle so as to avoid pain and discomfort. If you’re experiencing pain in your knees, for example, you may want to avoid climbing stairs or squatting. If your fingers are painful, you may want to avoid typing or using scissors. The best way to avoid pain is to understand what type of arthritis you have and what you can do to manage the symptoms. Once you know what’s causing the pain, you can take steps to prevent it from happening again.
Managing Your Weight
Excess weight is one of the most common causes of joint pain. If you are overweight, you may want to start a diet to help ease the pain caused by your arthritis. There is no specific diet that will ease all types of arthritis but experts agree that losing weight will help reduce pain and discomfort. Avoiding fad diets that promise quick results and opting for a sustainable approach to eating less will help you to lose weight in a healthy way. If you have arthritis in your lower back, losing weight is particularly important. A higher body mass index (BMI) can put pressure on the lower back, which can lead to increased discomfort caused by arthritis.
Touch-free tools and devices
If your arthritis is in your hands, then using touch-free tools and devices can make tasks such as opening tins and buttons so much easier. There are many gadgets and tools you can use, such as canned food openers, can and bottle openers, special kitchen utensils, gloves, special door handles and showers. These items will help you to live as independently as possible and reduce the time you need to spend struggling with tasks that are usually easy to complete. If you have arthritis in your feet, you may want to invest in special shoes that have a soft sole. These will help to ease pain in the foot and make walking more comfortable.
Arthritis can be painful and debilitating, but it does not have to be. With the right tools, you can reduce your joint pain and live a healthier, more active lifestyle. From stretching exercises to hot and cold therapy, there are plenty of ways you can ease your joint pain. If you are overweight, losing weight will not only ease the pain caused by your arthritis but also protect your lower back. There is a range of touch-free tools and devices you can use to make tasks easier. If you want to ease joint pain, you first need to identify what type of arthritis you have and what you can do to manage the symptoms.