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6 Ways to Manage Your Arthritis

6 Ways to Manage Your Arthritis

Arthritis is the leading cause of pain and disability in the United States.

Arthritis is the leading cause of pain and disability in the United States. Almost 50% of people over the age of 65 reports doctor-diagnosed arthritis and one in four Americans under 65 reports doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

Managing symptoms and flares takes some work, but you can take some steps to lessen the pain and enjoy life.

Work with Your Provider

If you’re experiencing joint paint, start by contacting your medical provider. The CDC reports over 100 types of arthritis, some of which affect the immune systems as well as joints. A proper diagnosis helps your provider recommend a treatment plan which reduces your symptoms and helps you feel better.

Keep Moving

Physical activity can improve arthritis pain by 40%. Can’t take a long walk? Make sure to stretch your muscles and move your joints through their full range of motion every day. Stretches before and after you exercise also reduces the chance of injury. Try low impact exercises such as swimming, riding a stationary bike, or walking on a treadmill or on paved even ground. Avoid high impact aerobics as they can put more stress on joints.

Manage Your Weight

Almost ⅓ of adults who are obese also have arthritis. Being overweight can complicate your arthritis and lead to increased pain. Don’t jump on a fad diet though. The best way to lose weight, and keep it off, is to create a plan that includes healthy eating and exercise to gradually shed the extra pounds.

Stop Smoking

Smoking complicates almost every chronic illness and arthritis is no different. It puts stress on the connective tissues of your body which can increase your arthritis pain. So if you aren’t worried enough about your lungs to quit, do it to decrease the arthritis pain.

Take a Warm Bath

Warm water has long been one of the most common natural remedies for many illnesses. Twenty minutes relaxed in warm water can relieve pain and loosen muscles. Try gently stretching your warm muscles in the bath to increase your flexibility. For an occasional treat, add some Epsom salts to the bath. (Diabetes patients, on the other hand, should stick with plain warm water.)

Think Positively

Depression and anxiety affect almost ⅓ of all arthritis patients. Negative thoughts can increase pain, especially when you dwell on them. Find an activity you enjoy, spend time with a friend or loved one and talk to a therapist or counselor.

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