According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is the number one cause of disability in American adults. About 54 million adults have this chronic condition. While over-the-counter pain medications are available to manage stiffness and pain, long-term use of these medicines can be damaging to the liver.
Fortunately, symptoms of arthritis are manageable with proper diet and exercise. Follow these tips to manage pain and inflammation at home. (Related: Arthritis - How to relieve the pain and heal naturally.)
Omega-3 fatty acids can boost the immune system. Several studies have shown that these organic molecules reduce inflammation by enhancing the function of immune cells. High intake of omega-3 fatty acids can also help in managing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis -- a type of autoimmune disease that affects the lining of the joints. Omega-3 fatty acids can be obtained from foods such as nuts, seeds, and fatty fish like salmon and herring.
Mindfulness meditation can help alleviate pain by focusing a person's attention to their inner thoughts and feelings. For instance, a program called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) therapy is known to improve immune function and reduce pain and stress.
A study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases investigated the effect of MBSR therapy on people who have rheumatoid arthritis. They found that participants who practiced MBSR showed reduced symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, including pain, stiffness, and the number of tender and swollen joints.
While vitamin D can be obtained by eating certain foods, the easiest way to get this vitamin is through sun exposure. According to studies, people who have rheumatoid arthritis are low in vitamin D. Moreover, insufficient levels of this vitamin can aggravate inflammation. Ensuring that there is enough vitamin D in the body can lead to better immune function.
Hot and cold treatments are two different methods that work surprisingly well together when used for arthritis. Heat therapy boosts blood circulation and reduces muscle pain and stiffness while cold therapy restricts blood flow and reduces inflammation.
When a cold pad is applied, blood vessels in that area constrict, causing a numbing effect. When the cold pad is removed and replaced by a heating pad, blood vessels expand and bring in a rush of nutrients that promotes healing.
Water exercises help alleviate the painful symptoms of arthritis without causing a lot of strain. Water provides resistance and buoyancy that can help increase exercise intensity while decreasing pressure on the joints. According to research, regular aquatic exercise can reduce pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. Water exercise is also effective in decreasing body fat and increasing coordination and range of motion.
Yoga and tai chi are two different types of non-strenuous exercises that increase flexibility and range of motion. Several studies have demonstrated the efficacy of tai chi in managing arthritis symptoms. Tai chi can helps increase muscle strength and balance.
On the other hand, doing the intricate poses taught in yoga can correct the body's anatomical alignment and relieve inflammation. Props are often used to get into these positions and help ease tension. A study investigating the effects of yoga revealed that this exercise can increase pain tolerance in women who are suffering from arthritis.
Arthritis doesn't have a cure, but there are ways to manage its symptoms. Lifestyle changes, like eating a balanced meal and exercising regularly, can make a world of difference when it comes to dealing with arthritis.
Find out about foods that can help with arthritis at FoodCures.news.