More than 53 million Americans suffer from arthritis, a chronic joint condition that causes pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Arthritis is a progressive joint disease, which means it gets worse over time.
Prompt treatment is important for managing symptoms and slowing the underlying joint damage that causes painful symptoms. For most people, managing arthritis effectively means using a combination of medical therapies and lifestyle changes.
With locations in Athens and Watkinsville, Georgia, Joint Regeneration helps patients manage arthritis pain with custom treatment plans tailored to each person’s unique needs. In this post, Dhurata Guillot, NP-C, explains five simple lifestyle tips that can help you manage your arthritis symptoms.
1. Stay active
Your joints were made to move — literally. Even though movement and exercise might seem counterintuitive when your joints are sore, the fact is, regular activity can help reduce the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis, while keeping still and sedentary can make your symptoms worse.
The key is to choose activities that gently exercise your joints without putting too much strain on them. Taking a daily walk is a great way to exercise your joints, but other low-impact activities, like swimming and yoga, are good choices, too. It’s also important to start slowly and pay attention to how your joints feel both during and after exercise.
In addition to helping relieve joint pain, regular exercise can help you manage your weight and reduce the stress and frustration that often accompany chronic medical issues like arthritis.
2. Drop those extra pounds
Speaking of managing your weight, losing excess pounds is another effective lifestyle tip for people with arthritis pain and stiffness, especially those who have symptoms in their knees, hips, feet, or back.
These joints help bear your weight whether you’re standing, sitting, or being active. It makes sense, then, that when you’re carrying extra pounds, that means more strain on those joints — and more painful symptoms, too.
3. Adopt healthy eating habits
Eating a healthy diet helps you manage your weight for potentially fewer arthritis symptoms. But by focusing on the right foods, you can help reduce the inflammation that’s at the root of your pain.
Because arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition, choosing foods that fight inflammation may help reduce underlying inflammation. Anti-inflammatory foods include colorful fruits and vegetables, lean or vegetable-sourced proteins, nuts and seeds, olive oil, whole grains, and oily fish.
Watch your portion sizes, read food labels, and avoid prepackaged or deep-fried foods. Bonus: Watching what you eat can help you lose extra weight, too.
4. Prioritize sleep
Sleep is when your body takes time to heal and repair itself. If you have a chronic medical condition, getting adequate sleep helps your joints rest and relieves the day-to-day strains on joint surfaces.
Sleep also helps you cope more effectively with your arthritis and its symptoms. Plus, research shows getting enough sleep helps you manage your weight and gives you the energy to take part in regular daily exercise.
The problem is, arthritis pain can sometimes make it difficult to get the sleep you need. Many people find using pillows to support sore joints provides lots of relief. We can help you find other ways to improve your sleep, too.
5. Work on stress management
Stress affects you emotionally and physically, and combined, those effects can make it especially difficult to cope with arthritis. Learning to manage stress improves your ability to cope with your symptoms and motivates you to take positive steps to reduce them.
Learning to control your stress isn’t always easy, and it does take some practice. Getting regular exercise and prioritizing sleep can certainly help and so can setting aside some “me time” each day.
Use your time to practice deep breathing or take up yoga or mindfulness exercises. Engaging in a hobby you enjoy can help, too. The key is to make stress management part of your regular daily routine.
Arthritis pain can definitely take a toll on your life, but with the right management plan in place, you can feel better physically and emotionally while improving joint function and overall wellness.
To learn how we can help you manage your arthritis symptoms, call 706-705-1464 or book an appointment online with us at Joint Regeneration today.