Finding ways to treat your arthritis can be tough. Arthritis isn’t a disease with a known cure, nor is it easy to manage the aches and pains that come with the inflammatory condition. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do for your arthritis! Though tricky, there are a lot of steps you can take to further your health and wellness journey and work through your hard-to-manage arthritic pains.
Down below, we’re outlining some of the biggest do’s (and the major don’ts) of treating arthritis. This way, you know all of the best things to do to help you feel better, all while avoiding certain circumstances that may exacerbate your pain. So, what’s the best thing to do for arthritis? Let’s find out.
Before learning about the ideal ways of managing your arthritis, it’s important for us to establish that every person is unique. Arthritis isn’t one generalized disorder that manifests equally for everybody. (Though, wouldn’t that make life simpler?) Instead, “arthritis” is used as an umbrella term for all of the different types of arthritis. Right now, the medical world is aware of at least 100 forms, every one demonstrating individualistic side effects and even treatment methods.
Because of this, you have to make sure you have a good understanding of the arthritis you have. Make sure to sit down with your doctor and have a conversation about your type of arthritis and potential treatment forms. This gives your physician a good opportunity to let you know if you should avoid certain treatment methods or therapies simply because of the type of inflammation you have.
For those who have struggled with arthritis for years, you likely know the ins and outs of your complications like the back of your hand. However, some are still doing their best to understand life with arthritis and how to manage it. Thankfully, no matter what side of the spectrum you’re at, you do have options.
Managing arthritis may be a bit difficult, but there are a lot of remedies you can try to help grant a bit of comfort. That’s exactly why we’re here.
That leads us to the million-dollar question: what’s the best thing to do for arthritis?
As much as we’d love to have a one-size-fits-all answer here, every person’s unique! Thankfully, there are a handful of productive things you can do to treat arthritis. Along with these beneficial moves, there are also some major “don’ts” for arthritis treatment that most people with the complication should avoid entirely. Don’t worry: we’re covering them both down below.
One of the best things you can do for your arthritis is to keep moving and get some exercise. The moment you notice yourself struggling to move the way you used to is not the time to rest. This typically means that your body is atrophying, and you’re losing significant muscle and bone density. When this happens, even daily movements like brushing your hair, writing a note, or sending an email can be painful.
Lack of movement will only ensure worse deterioration over time. The best way to combat this kind of discomfort is to work through it and keep moving. Your body requires movement to build muscle and strength; this strength is what makes it easier on your joints to move around. See the connection? The more you keep yourself movin’ and groovin’, the better you’re going to feel — even if it’s a bit painful at first.
Exercising may not be your favorite activity — especially as someone with arthritis — but it sure is beneficial. Light exercise like strolls through the park and gentle stretches can do wonders for your inflamed muscles and joints, and it helps to build up a bit of a tolerance to moving. With this, movements like getting up out of your chair will likely become more manageable and less painful.
Now’s not the time to be stagnant! When your body needs TLC more than ever, getting a bit of movement is one of the best things you can do for your arthritis. (And your mental health!)
However, you want to make sure you don’t push yourself too hard when you’re exercising. Overworking yourself is only going to hurt your body and create more pain. It’s essential to establish a healthy balance of resting your joints and getting some movement into your bones. Finding this balance is what’s best for your muscles, joints, and arthritis overall.
When exercising, you’ll probably want to avoid any sort of high-impact exercise. Even if these were your favorite types of workouts before, high-impact or high-intensity training is going to put too much strain on your muscles and joints. Things like running, jumping, and other repetitive movements can also have adverse effects on arthritic joints, so make sure to avoid these somewhat strenuous options. Instead, take it easy on yourself! Enjoy a pleasant leisurely stroll, build exercise slowly, and do what works best for your body.
Eating well and being mindful of what you’re putting in your body are great things to do for arthritis pain. As we’ve established in previous blog posts, many foods you can consume have anti-inflammatory values themselves. This means that, when you eat them, they work naturally to reduce levels of inflammation in the body, providing you a bit of relief and relaxation. Not to mention, most of these foods are jam-packed with vitamins and nutrients, too; it’s a win-win situation!
Being mindful of what you put in your body is crucial because, of course, there are also foods that can increase inflammation. Things like fried foods, refined carbs, and soda can all exacerbate your arthritic inflammation, making you feel much worse after eating. Even if you don’t have arthritis, you usually don’t feel too great after eating foods like these. This is the most significant indication that you should avoid these unhealthy food options entirely! When you have arthritis, even the meals you have may influence your comfort. Be kind to yourself and stick to foods that are going to make you feel better — even if some fried foods might taste yummier.
The best anti-inflammatory foods include the following:
We understand that arthritis pains are not fun to deal with. In fact, they often feel impossible to manage. However, this is just a feeling — not a fact. There are ways for you to deal with your arthritis, ensuring you feel better on a daily basis. Sulking and being down on yourself for not being as healthy as you once were will not do you any good! Instead, it’s only going to make things harder.
When your mental health is bad, your physical health will be too. If you’re struggling with depression or anxiety due to your arthritis diagnosis or lack of mobility, you’re not alone. However, this isn’t something you should just sweep under the rug and ignore! Reach out to a mental health professional and start talking to someone about your feelings.
Finding a specialist who understands the trials and tribulations of arthritis can be transformative for your mental health, as they can help provide tools that may combat the unhealthy thoughts you have. Then, once your mental health is on the mend, taking care of yourself physically becomes a whole lot more simple.
While it can sometimes be possible to work through or ignore inevitable pain and discomfort, arthritis isn’t one of those situations. When you refuse to regulate or moderate pain levels, the inflammation in your body will never improve. Instead, you’re giving it the opportunity to worsen. Even if medications aren’t your favorite, turning to some to regulate your pain levels is one of the best choices you can make for your arthritis pains.
There are various medications, both over-the-counter and not, that are wonderful for treating deep-seated arthritic pains. Some are more potent than others, but they’re all crafted to help you feel more comfortable throughout the day.
When your pain feels out of control, and you just need a bit of a break, medications can do wonders. This is something that most arthritis patients have or must take, so you shouldn’t feel weak or embarrassed for doing so. After all, there’s a reason so many of these medications exist! If you find a prescription medication — or even an NSAID — that mediates your pain the way you need it to, don’t be afraid to turn to it when you need support.
However, with all this being said, you do have to keep in mind health consumption methods. In terms of medications, it may be easy to become reliant on these drugs because of their fast-acting relief. Overconsumption of medications of any kind can be pretty dangerous on the body, potentially putting you at risk for more complications. Or, at the very least, it can hinder your progress. This is why physicians place such high importance on proper medication usage.
Make sure you’re only taking your medications when suggested or when needed. If you find that you’re relying too heavily on the relief from your pills, talk to your doctor about finding a different option. Medication can help your arthritis significantly without putting you at risk — but you have to be the one to dictate that.
Simply put, if you’re taking medication for arthritis, only consume what your doctor recommends.
Finally, alternative treatment therapies can be an excellent option for those suffering from arthritis pains. Treatments like hot-cold therapy, physical therapy, acupuncture, and even hydrotherapy can all provide profound relief for those with deep-seated inflammation.
Though they may be a bit more pricey than going on a walk, turning to these alternative treatments may give you the support you require to feel like your old self again. Each one of these therapies offers unique benefits to the body, and it simply depends on your personal preference which one you’d like to try.
If you’ve always been curious about the effects of acupuncture on the body, now’s the time to see its benefits for yourself! In terms of arthritis, acupuncture relieves pockets of pressure and pain, balancing yourself internally and helping you feel more in control. Or, you can try physical therapy and work one-on-one with a specialist to work out aches and pains in healthy, productive ways.
Smoking cigarettes is one of the worst things you can do for your body if you have arthritis. The act of smoking can exacerbate joint pain, even heightening pain sensitivity in general. This means that those who smoke cigarettes tend to be in higher pain levels than others, even for discomforts that may not be all that serious. However, the chemicals within cigarettes send the body all out of whack.
The consensus in the medical world is that cigarettes can worsen arthritis severely, putting you at higher risks for other complications, as well. Not only are cigarettes harmful to the bones and joints, but they’re harmful to the lungs, heart, and so much more. If you’re taking the steps to better yourself, improve your health and wellness, and manage your arthritis pains, the best thing for you to do is to quit smoking immediately.
As we mentioned at the beginning, every person is different when managing their arthritis pains. The best thing to do is find what works best for you. These changes shouldn’t turn your life upside or leave you feeling even more uncomfortable than before; on the contrary, these are options designed to improve your overall quality of life. By making these lifestyle adjustments, you’re showing your arthritis that it doesn’t have control over you — not anymore.