Arthritis is a leading cause of pain and disability in the US. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly one out of every five American adults are currently living with arthritis. Anyone who has been diagnosed with arthritis can attest to the challenge of living with chronic pain, as well as other common symptoms like stiffness, swelling, and impaired mobility. Most people afflicted with arthritis experience either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Treatment for arthritis can take many forms including medications, physical therapy, and surgery. Determining the best course of treatment for each patient depends on the type of arthritis they experience as well as their individual health needs and the severity of their symptoms. However, there are also simple behaviors people with arthritis can perform to help manage and reduce their symptoms. We recommend the following:
- Losing weight. This is generally recommended, but it can be especially helpful for overweight people with arthritis. Additional weight puts additional strain on joints like the back, hips and knees. Shedding weight can help alleviate this stress and reduce arthritis pain in these joints.
- Stay physically active. Experts including our healthcare providers agree that staying in motion can actually help keep arthritis pain away. Even light exercise like walking can keep joints loose and help minimize stiffness.
- Applying cold and heat to arthritic joints may be able to help as well. A cold compress can help restrict blood vessels, leading to a reduction of fluid in the tissue that can cause swelling and pain. Heat treatments can be applied to soar, swollen areas too. This can effectively open the blood vessels and help increase healthy circulation. However, we
recommend first speaking with your healthcare provider to make sure these approaches are right for you.
- Don’t smoke or use other nicotine products. Nicotine can create additional stress on the joints and their connective tissues by constricting the blood vessels.
We understand that living with arthritis can be difficult, but it’s important to maintain a positive attitude while pursuing treatment. Try not to get discouraged and remember that performing these steps can help incrementally manage your symptoms over time. For more information on arthritis or if you would like to discuss potential treatment options with our healthcare providers,
please contact Family Practice Center today. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional health tips, news, photos, and more.