One in four adults in the United States has arthritis—that’s over 54 million people! The numbers grow higher every day, and arthritis’s pain gets worse as affected individuals age.
5 Science-Backed Ways To Help Manage Arthritis
Since arthritis is a degenerative disease and has no known cure, the best option is to manage the disease through treatment and adjusting lifestyle habits. Check out the best ways backed by science to manage arthritis and help alleviate symptoms.
Having too much weight applied to arthritic joints can cause a significant amount of pain. A 2018 study on the effects of weight loss on overweight patients with knee osteoarthritis found that overweight patients who lost 10% to 20% of their body weight had a significant drop in pain levels and inflammation.
Respondents also reported having an increased capacity to carry out physical activities like walking farther without pain than those with a weight loss of less than 5%. Researchers concluded the report by recommending losing a minimum of 20% of one’s body weight to positively impact and reduce the harmful effects of arthritis in overweight persons.
Physical activity plays a key role in keeping the disease less active and in reducing pain. It also helps in improving mood and overall health. It’s recommended to perform low-intensity exercises that don’t strain joints like swimming, walking, aerobics, and biking. The list of physical activities is wide open for participation as long as it’s done in moderation and practiced regularly to get the best results.
You may suffer from chronic knee pain, which can prove a barrier during exercise or physical activities. However, with the help of a knee support product, you can go about your daily routine or exercise program with reduced levels of swelling, inflammation, and pain.
Switching to an anti-inflammatory diet
Inflammation causes pain, stiffness, and swelling, which can be exaggerated by a diet with foods that aggravate these symptoms. A recent study on the effect of food on managing rheumatoid arthritis found that processed foods, butter, salt, sugar, animal products, oils, and salt increase inflammation while a vegan diet and polyunsaturated fatty acids help reduce inflammation.
The study concluded by recommending the following foods to manage arthritis: Fruits such as blueberries, mangoes, apples, and grapefruits; Cereals like oatmeal and whole wheat bread; legumes such as soybean; whole grains like wheat, rice, corn, rye; spices like ginger and turmeric; herbs; olive oil and fish oil; and yogurt and green tea.
Heat and cold therapy
Using heat and cold treatment helps to distract the brain from pain and improve comfort in several ways. These can be accelerating the healing of damaged tissue and stimulating or slowing down joint fluid production.
Heat helps reduce muscle and joint stiffness. It can also help to warm up joints before exercising or alleviating muscle spasms. Ice reduces inflammation, swelling, and pain. It can be ideal when reducing pain from aching joints after a workout or exercise. A gentle massage after heat or ice therapy can also help provide relief and further alleviate pain.
Hyaluronic acid injections
Hyaluronic acid injections help treat knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. It mimics a liquid that’s produced naturally in the joints. This functions as a lubricant and shock absorbent. Some people with osteoarthritis may experience a lower production of the natural lubricant. This leads to these injections becoming a necessity.
A 2018 study on the long term effects of repeated hyaluronic acid injections found that participants experienced a 55% decrease in pain with a frequency of one injection every six months for approximately two years. The study concluded that the injections were safe, provided significant benefit, and had no side effects on the participants.
How to Manage Arthritis
Living with arthritis can be difficult and requires a shift in daily practices. However, with the help of medical practitioners and credible treatment plans, you can manage the disease and live a fulfilling life.