Arthritis is a disease where your joints swell up and experience pain. There are more than 100 types of arthritis. Because arthritis takes so many forms, the condition isn’t always preventable. The most common form or arthritis is osteo-arthritis, caused by wear and tear due to injury or overuse.
There are things you can do to reduce your potential for arthritis pain. Whether you want to reduce your risk of getting arthritis or manage some you already have, use the following diet and lifestyle tips to stave off arthritis-related joint problems.
What to Eat
What we eat contributes to how much we weigh, what nutrients our body has available, and how rapidly our body ages-all factors in arthritis occurrence and intensity. Because of their healthy components, certain foods make the nice list for preventing and reducing arthritis pain.
Fish. The omega-3s in certain fish may reduce joint inflammation. According to one study, eating fish regularly can reduce women’s risk for rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic autoimmune arthritis form. Enjoy salmon, halibut, snapper, cod, or tuna to take advantage of fish’s anti-inflammatory omega-3s.
If fish isn’t your favorite food, fish oil supplements are a viable alternative for getting your omega-3s. Just check with your doctor first to avoid any harmful drug interactions.
Fruits and Vegetables. These mom-approved food groups have an answer for every ailment, and arthritis is no exception. Both fruits and vegetables are jam-packed with fiber for regulating digestion and phyto-nutrients for reducing total body inflammation.
Individually, these foods also positively affect arthritis. Certain fruits contain anti-inflammatory chemicals, the best being dark fruits like cherries, pomegranates, and most berries.
Eating cooked vegetables regularly reduces your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Make sure to limit starchy vegetables, though-they can promote inflammation, as can too much red meat.
Drink Enough Water. Water is essential for so many body systems! When it comes to arthritis, water keeps joints lubricated because joint fluid consists mainly of water. Plus, muscles and connective tissue function better with an adequate water supply. Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. If you already have arthritis, filtered or purified water is best because research links drinking fluoridated water with arthritic inflammation. Also, choose water instead of sugary and carbonated drinks that can cause inflammation and dehydration.
What Not to Eat
Just as certain foods contain arthritis-friendly components, other foods contain ingredients that promote inflammation, a major arthritis trigger. You don’t have to eliminate these foods altogether, but definitely cut down on the following to minimize arthritis pain:
- Fried foods
- Processed foods
- Refined carbs (white flour, white rice, etc.)
- Dairy products
- Corn oil
How to Live
Along with eating right, it’s important to balance staying fit and active with avoiding straining and injuring joints. To achieve that balance, incorporate these healthy suggestions into your lifestyle.
Maintain a Healthy Weight. Most people know being overweight has negative consequences for health, but not everyone considers the strain placed on joints carrying around extra pounds. Your body weight impacts your feet, knees and hips with a force equivalent to three times your body weight every time you take a step. Losing even 5 pounds relieves your joints of 15 pounds of pressure with every step. Also, scientists link being overweight with higher risk for osteoarthritis, especially in women.
Exercise Smart. In addition to having weight management and heart-health benefits, exercise also makes joints stronger and more flexible. Stronger muscles around joints and more motion mean reduced stress on the joints themselves.
Be aware that some exercises, like running, strain joints more than others. Swimming, biking, and using an elliptical all have a much lower impact on joints.
Play Safe. Being active throughout your entire life keeps you fit and healthy, major factors in avoiding arthritis. However, sports or accident-related injuries take an extra toll on specific joints, potentially leading to early arthritis. When you’re active, always use safety equipment and follow best practices. For example, when lifting weights, learn proper lifting form and use a spotter when applicable.
Stretch Wisely. Include stretching in your regular exercise and movement routine to ensure joints have a full range of motion. Rather than stretching before exercise, make it a post-workout activity. Stretching cold muscles actually makes them less effective and has no proven injury-prevention benefits. Warming up adequately before exercise in more important for injury prevention.
To make stretching your workout, try yoga, Pilates, and tai chi–exercise forms that involve stretching but also provide a total body workout.
These simple tips justify the old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Collectively, these anti-arthritis lifestyle changes are commonly recommended health practices anyway. Whether you currently have arthritis or are trying to avoid it in the future, following these tips will make your body healthier all around.
If you have arthritis pain, and these diet and lifestyle changes are not enough to give you relief, there are specific treatments that we offer that do provide great relief for most people. For arthritis in the hands, feet, knees and spine cold laser therapy is often very effective. Laser goes deep into the damaged cartilage and acts as a catalyst to turn on chemical reactions involved in healing, and reduces inflammation. The combination leads to significant pain reduction for most people.
Specific exercises for the neck and back to improve range of motion (flexibility) and to rebuild lost strength, often relieves back or neck pain long-term. In fact, in the low back studies show rehab on our Medx Medical Lumbar Rehab Machine will relieve the pain in 75% of people. The World Health Organization in depth study of neck pain showed that the most relief of neck pain is produced from combining neck strengthening with other treatments.
If you want to get relief of arthritis pain in your hands, feet, knees, or spine call Alberta Back and Neck Rehab & Sports Injuries Clinic today at 403-234-0040.