Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory joint disease in which the body’s immune system lays siege on the body itself. There is little cure for more advanced stages of joint aches but certain lifestyle changes and awareness can lessen the impact of the pain, stiffness, and aching we may be experiencing in our joints.
Lose Weight58 percent of people who are obese suffer from joint pain versus 40 percent of normal weight people. Our joints take a pounding after years of bearing more weight than warranted. Under excessive body weight, our joints begin to deteriorate causing pain and making them more susceptible to disease. It may be time to make some lifestyle changes in order to salvage stressed joints by reducing extra body weight.
Make Dietary ChangesAdding and subtracting certain factors in your existing eating habits can put you on a path to improved joint health and assist with joint pain and stiffness.
• Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that actively reduce inflammation in the joints and muscles and serve to lubricate joint surfaces. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids are cold ocean fish such as sardines, tuna and salmon. Other foods high in these essential fatty acids are flaxseed, soybeans and walnuts.
• Cutting down or completely eliminating alcohol and caffeine may have a positive impact on joint pain.
• Take processed sugars, saturated fats and excessive amounts of animal protein out of your diet equation as these foods have direct adverse effects on inflammatory processes.
Keep MovingThe key to assuaging the symptom of the aching stiffness that is the hallmark of joint pain is to get physically motivated on a regular basis. Choose exercise methods that are easy on the joints, but also serve to strengthen muscles, ligaments and tendons that protect the joints.
• Biking - Cycling is one of the best aerobic exercises for joint pain. Choosing a bike with many gears will enable you to better adjust tension on hills and not cause undue strain on the knees. Indoor exercise bikes are another option that will allow you to exercise regardless of the weather.
• Walking - Taking a daily brisk hour long walk will not only strengthen joints, but will also serve to build stamina and increase energy levels.
• Swimming - Taking to the pool is another excellent form of non-impact, joint strengthening, aerobic exercise that should be incorporated in treating joint pain.
• Yoga- Isometric and non-impact exercises such as yoga and tai chi are yet other effective methods to remedy joint stiffness and pain. Slow sustained stances or poses in yoga function to regain flexibility and suppleness to rigid joints.
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Pamper YourselfOther forms of treatment for joint aches have been proven very effective:
• Long hot baths- Soaking in warm water soothes muscles and joints while increasing circulation which effectively reduces stiffness in joints.
• Compresses- Alternating cold and hot compresses directly on the areas of joint pain serves to improve blood circulation, reduce swelling, and ease pain.
• Acupuncture- Strategically placed tiny needles using this ancient Chinese practice has proven to achieve positive results in regard to joint pain.
• Massage- The comforting hand pressure of a body massage also assists in improving circulation while soothing muscle tension associated with joint pain.