Try These Top Tips For Arthritis
No one wants to be given a diagnosis of arthritis which will often fill you with a feeling of dread and worry about a future possibly filled with pain and stiffness.
If you have perhaps neglected to look after your joints, you may be even more concerned because ageing, being overweight, injuries, bad posture, lack of sleep and of course general wear and tear can all take their toll.
What are the symptoms of arthritis?
Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of one or more of your joints with the main symptoms being joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age.
The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis causes cartilage — the hard, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint — to break down while rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the joints, beginning with the lining of joints.
Uric acid crystals, which form when there's too much uric acid in your blood, can cause gout. Infections or underlying disease, such as psoriasis or lupus, can cause other types of arthritis.
Treatments vary depending on the type of arthritis. The main goals of arthritis treatments are to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.
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Why is exercise so good for arthritis?
Exercise can be so beneficial for arthritis as it can reduce joint pain and stiffness while at the same time increasing flexibility, muscle strength, cardiac fitness and endurance.
- Beginner yoga classes provide simple, gentle movements that gradually build strength, balance, and flexibility – all elements that may be especially beneficial for people with arthritis.
- As you progress, yoga goes on to increase muscle strength, improve flexibility, enhance respiratory endurance and promote balance.
- Yoga has also been shown to boost energy, build positive feelings, and ease anxiety. Yoga is mind boosting and energy increasing, leading to fewer bodily aches and pains.
- Yoga really helps with the increased stress that goes hand-in-hand with living with a chronic disease.
- Yoga leads to lots of increased mental energy as well as positive feelings (you become more alert and enthusiastic), fewer negative feelings (less aggression and anxiety) and somatic complaints.
If you suffer from arthritis and you live a sedentary lifestyle, it can lead to increased pain, more inactivity and further disability. Plus the psychological benefits of exercise such as less stress, fewer symptoms of depression, improved coping and well-being and enhanced immune functioning all contribute to greater overall health.
Stretching, strength and endurance, and aerobic are the three types of exercise that arthritis sufferers should include in their fitness regimen.
More about osteo-arthritis
It is estimated that as many as twenty one million people in the USA alone might be suffering from osteo arthritis with experts saying that one out of every four people who visits a physician complaining of pain, is actually suffering from osteo arthritis. It is sometimes also referred to as a degenerative joint disease, because it primarily affects the joints of the body causing pain - and then known as degenerative arthritis.
Some sufferers get used to the pain, hardly noticing any major changes while in others, the pain can be acute, and can even cause mobility to become severely restricted. There is also usually stiffness and swelling in the joints. And the condition worsens when there is a change in the climate (such as an increase in warmth or cold – particularly during the winter season).
The pain is generally sharp, and feels as if the affected area is burning. The pain comes from the tendons and the muscles. The cartilage in the joints may tear apart, causing the pain. The joints seem to crack with a noise when the person or someone else touches it or the joint gets moved. Sometimes osteo arthritis can also lead to the growth of fluids in the joints. Parts of the body that are usually affected by osteo arthritis include the knees, the feet, hands, hips and the spine.
Although any age group can be affected, it is more common among seniors. Obesity can play a part too (because of the extra weight) putting a lot of pressure on the muscles, the tendons and the bones. A family history of the condition often repeats in generations to follow.
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More about rheumatoid arthritis
The symptoms often start with just some stiffness or swelling felt in the small joints such as the fingers and toes. A little later, the shoulders could be affected with some muscle stiffness. As the disease progresses, the elbows, knees, hips, jaw and neck can also become involved.
In most cases, symptoms occur symmetrically - that is in the same joints on both sides of the body. Symptoms typically last more than two weeks. As they become more serious, they can include:
- Pain which is usually described as a throbbing, aching kind of pain that is worse in the mornings and particularly if you have been sitting still for some time. The pain is often more noticeable during periods of rest rather than after any activity.
- Stiffness in the joints is a common symptom especially in the morning. While morning stiffness associated with osteoarthritis usually wears off within thirty minutes of getting up in the morning, the time frame for rheumatoid arthritis usually lasts longer than half an hour and can be as long as two hours.
- Warmth and redness is often noticeable because with rheumatoid arthritis, the lining of the affected joint becomes inflamed so that these joints swell - and as a result feel hot or warm to the touch and tender and painful.
- Inflammation around the joints is also possible while rheumatoid arthritis can also cause inflammation: of the glands (tear and salivary); of the lining of the heart and lungs; and to the blood vessels.
- Red and puffy hands.
- Firm bumps of tissue under the skin on the arms (known as rheumatoid nodules).
- Feeling very tired and a general sense of feeling unwell
- Fever and weight loss are two further symptoms of RA that you should be aware of.
Rheumatoid arthritis signs and symptoms can vary from mild to severe and back again and may even come and go. Rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups can alternate with periods of remission when the symptoms can fade or even disappear. You can experience a flare-up at any time of the day or night but it is much more likely that your symptoms will be more painful in the morning, when you first wake up, easing as the day goes on and because you are using your joints.
How the body’s own immune system targets its own tissue as an enemy
Joint swelling over a long period of time can lead to deformity and loss of function in the affected joint.
The resulting inflammation thickens this lining (known as the synovium) so that in time it actually invades and destroys the cartilage and bone within the joint. At the same time, the tendons and ligaments that hold the joint together weaken and stretch so that the joint loses both its shape and alignment. It is not yet known what starts the whole process off but there are some contributing factors:
- Often RA runs in families so that you can inherit a predisposition to rheumatoid arthritis.
- It is much more common in women than in men.
- Ageing - it is more common after the age of forty.
- Smoking considerably increases your risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
As soon as you aware of possible RA symptoms, see your doctor for a positive diagnosis and treatment. But you don't necessarily have to go the pharmaceutical drug route for such treatment as there are natural herbal treatments available, chiropractic therapy and also exercise can be extremely helpful.
How to help with the pain and discomfort of arthritis
There are lots of different ways in which help is available to alleviate the pain and discomfort cause by arthritis. And massaging the feet or hands is just one of them, helping by easing stiff muscles, increasing the range of movement and reducing pain.
- Put a small amount warm lotion or oil in your hand and smooth over the foot. If you are giving the foot massage to alleviate arthritis symptoms, then a few drops of H-Arthritis Formula would be ideal.
- Firmly hold the foot with both hands. Rub the top of the foot using a firm motion with your thumbs. Start at the tip of each toe and move slowly all the way up to the ankle. Move back towards the toes and rub with a lighter stroke. This step can be repeated 2 or more times.
- Continue to hold the foot with both hands and move your thumbs to the bottom of the foot. Rub the bottom of the foot. Start at the tip of each toe and move your thumbs firmly towards the heel. Go back in the direction of the toes and rub the bottom of the foot with your thumbs. This step can be repeated 2 or more times.
- Repeat the above steps on the other foot.
What are other ways to help relieve arthritis symptomsYou may be worried about the level of exercise (if any) that you can safely carry out when you have arthritis. We have already mentioned how important exercise can be.
- As said earlier on, one of the best ways of exercising with arthritis is yoga. This is because yoga is associated with a wide range of physical and psychological benefits that can be especially helpful for anyone living with a chronic illness such as arthritis.
- Another is swimming. A heated all-weather indoor pool is ideal for the arthritis sufferer as the warmer the water, the more the joints can loosen up. Those with arthritis receive greater health benefits from participating in hydrotherapy, swimming or just gently exercising in water than any other activities. This is because water-based exercise improves the use of those affected joints and decreases pain (whichever type of arthritis) by putting the body through a broad range of motion that helps joints and ligaments stay loose and flexible.
- Fish consumption has been noted to have many beneficial health effects for those with arthritis along with turmeric and flax seed oil.
- Apart from the fish above, there are several healthy foods to include in our diets to combat arthritis including extra virgin olive oil, broccoli, green tea, citrus fruits, beans (including red beans, kidney beans and pinto beans), cherries and nuts.
- Of course, regular and daily use of our own H-Arthritis Formula is another way to relieve arthritis symptoms. This natural product (when applied topically) can provide rapid relief from arthritis pain and even help to prevent arthritis symptoms.
- Turmeric comes with more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds and is said to be as effective as 14 different pharmaceutical drugs (including combating inflammation) but of course with none of the side effects or high costs. You can take turmeric in supplement form or use a paste below.
Recipe for turmeric paste to take for arthritis symptoms
The paste can be kept in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 weeks in a glass air tight container and you take a teaspoon twice a day either on its own or mixed into a drink, remembering that turmeric is a strong yellow color and can stain your clothes and other items if not handled with care.
- 1/4 cup turmeric
- 1/2 pure filtered water
Pour most of the water into a pot on the stove top and gently heat, gradually stirring in the turmeric so that it mixes into a paste. Keep stirring and adding water for about 10 minutes. You might find you need extra water to keep it at a creamy paste consistency. When finished, leave to cool before storing in the glass jar. Take a teaspoon twice a day with some coconut oil or butter to aid absorption.
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