Five ways to reduce arthritis pain

Living with arthritis can be very painful. It is often described as a sharp, burning sensation or extreme pressure at the joints. Arthritis is a condition that literally means “joint inflammation.” This inflammation can occur at any area where two bones meet.

Some symptoms of arthritis are: pain, redness, joint swelling, trouble moving around, weight loss, rash or itch, difficulty breathing and fever, per the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. This pain limits patients in their daily tasks and can prevent them from living healthy lifestyles.
Luckily, there are several ways to manage the symptoms to make daily tasks tolerable. The Arthritis Foundation shares some insight on how to reduce pain.

Stay on top of your medications. Medications play a key role in the management of your pain. The prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can significantly control your pain and inflammation if taken responsibly.

Manage your weight. Your weight is a large influence on arthritis. The pressure that is put on the joints, specifically hips, knees and ankles, comes from the excess weight of your body. So, one way to counteract that is managing your weight by staying active. Participating in regular exercise is helpful when living with arthritis. Also, keeping a close eye on your diet will help to lose excess weight. Watch what you eat and the amount of servings you eat.

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet. One way to lower pain and inflammation is to increase your intake of foods that help control inflammation.
  • The main staple item of this diet is fish, such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and anchovies. What makes these foods beneficial is their richness in omega-3 fatty acids which reduce inflammatory proteins.
  • Another is fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, spinach, kale and broccoli. These fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants, which help the immune system.
  • Nuts and seeds are a great source of monounsaturated fat, protein and fiber that makes them reliable when it comes to managing inflammation.  These nuts and seeds include walnuts, pine nuts, almonds and pistachios.
  • Olive oil has antioxidants, monounsaturated fats, and oleocanthal, all of which are responsible for lowering inflammation. The best food for this source is extra virgin olive oil because it is less refined, meaning it contains more nutrients versus the standard varieties.
Beware of these ingredients. A person living with arthritis should be mindful of the ingredients that can cause inflammation.
  • Sugar is a tough ingredient to avoid because it is present in so many food items we consume. However, processed sugars are a main trigger to release cytokines, inflammatory messengers.
  • Trans fats are another trigger of inflammation. These fats are found in a plethora of fast foods and other fried products. Some of which include frozen breakfast products, cookies, donuts, crackers and margarine.
  • Foods that contain omega-6 fatty acids can cause inflammation and pain. Omega-6 fatty acids are needed at a healthy rate, but when overconsumption occurs people begin to feel the inflammation. These fatty acids are found in sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil, mayonnaise and salad dressing.
  • White flour products (breads, crackers, rolls), white rice, potatoes and several cereals are enjoyed by many people, but they are responsible for inflammation. These foods have a high-glycemic index which stimulates inflammation.
Warmth is key. Warmth can help alleviate joint pain due to its ability to stimulate blood flow. The use of warm compresses, heat pads, or even warm baths are great options for this. Warm baths are also helpful because they reduce the force of gravity put on the joints and allow for movement. Stretching the joints while soaking in warm water is relaxing and effective.

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