Most types of arthritis can not be cured, but you can manage the symptoms. You just need to know how.
The aim is to reduce joint pain, slow the progression of the disease, maintain joint integrity, keep your joint range of motion healthy and unrestricted and to keep you being able to do the things in the day that you want or need to do.
Consistency is the key. Doing these things now and then will not help. You need to be committed and able for these to help you. All of these will combine to help you overall, there is no magic one tip. Get all of these into your routine and you will start to see some positive results.
1 – Diet
Healthy eating….. Get to know your anti-inflammatory foods
There is a lot of mixed information out there on what a healthy diet is. Can I eat carbs? Is fat in this week or out? What about dairy? I even had someone tell me this week that a healthy diet was eating fruit alone….. Well, we do not condone that one but follow these basic rules to help your arthritis.
Say no to the sugar. Sugar causes inflammation in the body via a cascade of events. If you eat too much sugar, the body needs to produce more insulin to take the sugars out of the blood stream and into the tissue cells so it can be used. The more sugar you have in your body, the more resistance to insulin your body’s cells become. It is an overload. They just don’t need all of that sugar so they become less sensitive to allowing insulin to bind to the cell wall to transport the sugar into the cell. So that leaves us with sugar circulating in the blood. This equals an increase in blood sugar levels. This is where the damage happens. Circulating blood sugars can cause many events to happen, one of which is damage to many other structures, like your arthritic joints. Damage equals damage control which is inflammatory cells. Hence why we get an increase in inflammation. The inflammatory cells come in to mop up the mess. With this happening over and over, an increase in damage and inflammation makes for worsening of your arthritis as there is congestion and joint damage. The body will react use pain and restricted movement to try to minimize the damage. Sound familiar? By not eating sugar, this whole cascade of events can be avoided.
Complex carbohydrates such as bread, pastas and cereals…. Let me explain what a carbohydrate is. A carbohydrate is made up of a long line of simple sugars, bound together in a complex molecular format. Break them down to digest into their simplest form for absorption. Which is sugar. Say no more.
Eliminate processed foods. ALL of them. Nothing out of a packet. Throw them in the bin. A lot of these foods contain chemicals, preservatives and additives that our body just doesn’t like. This causes the body to get up its defenses and eliminate them… which is an inflammatory process.
A healthy diet that incorporates foods that support a reduction in inflammation and healthy cell regeneration and replacement is the key.
2 – Exercise and Rehabilitation
Exercise and rehabilitation of the joints is soo oooooh important. The muscles and tendons that create movement in your joints and provide support and stability in your joints need to be the strongest and have the best endurance that they possibly can to support you the best. A weak support system around an arthritic joint will not be doing you any favors. A strong support system around your joints provides stability and is essential for good movement and health of the joints.
Movement also is needed to help the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is the waste disposal system. All of the cell byproducts and waste is filtered into the lymphatic system which is then carried to the kidney and the gut for excretion from the body. The lymphatic system does not have a strong pump. The circulatory system does- it is the heart. The lymphatic system relies on the movement of the body to promote flow of the lymph and move the contents to be excreted from the body.
Regular exercise also impacts sleep quality, strength and overall energy levels. AND it is the best way to get that natural happy drug, serotonin, pumping. So it improves mood too. All of which contribute to helping your arthritis.
3 – Sleep
You just got to get enough shut eye
Sleep problems are common for arthritis sufferers. Ironically, the feeling of arthritis is worsened by not having enough sleep. Many people with arthritis think it just comes with the territory and can not be helped. This is not true!
There are many ways to improve sleep quality for people with arthritis. It all depends on what is disrupting your sleep. We can help with so many things including the joint pain, the stiffness, talking mattresses and bedding, all the way through to herbal medicine to help ease your pain and help you sleep. Each case is different and your management will depend on your unique case. Chat to our osteos and naturopath to get the best possible management plan for you. Once this has been established, you will know how and what to do on your own and will feel so much better with consecutive good nights sleeps!
4 – Joint Protection During Daily Activities
Some movements can aggravate your arthritic joints and even damage them further. Moving will help you but it has to be the right movement. For some activities, it pays to protect your joints. This can be done in many ways. Such as gardening, kneeling on a foam gardening pad.
It also pays to incorporate balance and rest with your activity. This allows the joints and muscles to have a breather.
The goal is to move. But to not load up the joints unnecessarily and cause pain and inflammation. Our practitioners really try to keep you moving, so have a chat and we can discuss what is best for you and your body.
5 – Stress
it just doesn’t help any situation
Stress really does not help you. And it certainly does your arthritis no favors. It has even been suggested that prolonged stress or a stressful event can trigger or worsen some conditions, including certain types of arthritis. What we do know is that stress has the ability to flare up arthritis. Reduce your stress is easier said than done. We get that. At the end of the day, to get you feeling great, this is an issue that needs to be chatted about.
6 – If You Need Help, Ask!
Arthritic joints can not always do what they used to do. This means you may not be able to do somethings that you could before. Please, ask for help! By pushing your joints and making them do what they can not physically do anymore, you can actually cause some damage and increase inflammation, leaving you sore. You need to keep moving and need to keep using those joints, but don’t push them over the edge. They will protest in pain.
7 – Assess and Re-assess Your Struggles Constantly
Things change. Your joints will have good and bad days. Be adaptable to this. Recognize what you can and can not do. Constantly evaluate this. If you find yourself in a world of pain…. Things definitely need to be reassessed. Modify or eliminate what is causing the aggravation of the arthritic joints.
Are you in constant pain? Pain is depressing. Depression makes your pain feel worse. It is a vicious cycle. Are you struggling with work? Are you struggling to keep up? Is it finances? Is it loneliness? Is it helplessness? Help is close. Tell us. If we are not the right people for the job, we certainly have the contacts to refer to make sure you are well cared for. It’s all about you and getting you feeling better.
8 – Prescribed Medications
Some types of arthritis, you just have to take them.
If your doctor has prescribed you medications, take these as prescribed. Taking them irregularly will not help your condition.
The Bottom Line
You are the controller. Nobody but you can help your arthritic joints. By routinely doing these tips to fight your arthritis, you can really help yourself! It takes commitment and it is a long term routine. It requires you to fight the physical and equally importantly, the emotional aspect of arthritis. We are here to help guide you but ultimately, you are the controller. You got this.
This blog post is an educational tool only. It is not a replacement for medical advice from a registered and qualified doctor or health professional.
Phone: (03) 9773 8085