National Center for Health Statistics states that 76.2 million people or about 26% of Americans suffer from chronic pain, and more than half of them suffer from arthritis or related condition. But the biggest question that bothers many of us is: Can’t something be done for arthritis besides taking pills?

Though the prescribed pain medicines can be effective if used properly, there are potential risks whenever you have a pill. So if you are looking around to explore alternative pain relief therapies, you can find plenty of advice about easing the pain of arthritis right from exercise to stress reduction and good nutrition to light stretching.

Exercise

When you have arthritis, movements can decrease your pain and stiffness in the joints, improves your range of motion, strengthens your muscles, and increases your endurance. Do the exercises that are designed to improve posture, strength, function, range of motion and to reduce pain.

What to do: Choose the kinds of activities that help you build muscles around the joints. A physical therapist can help you develop an exercise program that’s right for you. Focus on stretching, range-of-motion exercises and include low-impact aerobic exercise like walking, cycling, to enhance your mood and control your weight.

Strength Training

Strength training is good for just about everyone. When properly done as a part of a larger exercise program, strength training helps people support and protect joints and ease pain, stiffness, and possible swelling. So if you have arthritis and looking to incorporate strength training into your healthy routine, work with a certified physiatrist, who has ample of experience treating people who have arthritis to fabricate and adapt exercises that works best for you. Your aim should be to include strength training, flexibility activities that improve range of motion, and aerobic activities that avoids further stress on your joints.

Light Stretching

For most of the people with arthritis, morning is the most difficult part of the day, as waking up with stiff joints is a common issue. Though it might seem like the hardest time of day, doing a few stretches in the morning can give you a more fresh start to your day. It hardly takes a few minutes to stretch and warm up your muscles and joints.  But for best results, the key is to do arthritis stretches every day. Moreover, taking a warm shower before or after stretching can also help you feel more flexible and mobile.

Nutrition- No Wheat or Gluten

One of the most common questions people suffering from any form of arthritis is, “Is there any specific arthritis diet?” The answer, luckily, is that many of the foods can help you. Although there is no certain diet cure for arthritis, some foods possess the power to fight inflammation, strengthen bones and boost the immune system. Going with a diet low in processed foods, saturated fat and rich in fruits, vegetables, beans and buts is great for your body.  All the mentioned food items are touted for its anti-aging and disease-fighting abilities.

Swimming

If you have arthritis, exercise can help keep your joints mobile, flexible and your muscles strong. Swimming is especially good because it goes easy on the joints. Basically, swimming is an amazing zero-impact sport for people with arthritis. It puts all your muscle groups at work and enhances your cardiovascular endurance. The smooth support of water and the minimum joint impact makes swimming a perfect choice for people who are unable to undertake high-impact activities, such as running.

So start slowly and gradually increase the time, distance and speed at which you swim as you are able eventually. 

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Things to Avoid

  • Smoking- If you are addicted to tobacco, you might use it as an emotional coping tool. But it’s counterproductive, as toxins in smoke cause stress on connective tissue, resulting in more joint problems.
  • Negative Attitude- As long as you dwell on your negative thoughts, they continue to escalate, which can further increase your pain and potential risk of disability. Spend time with people who love you and consider even talking to a therapist.
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About Author: Dr. Scott Gray

Dr. Scott Gray is an internationally recognized and expert physical therapist specializing in sport, athletic, and back and neck injuries. He is the inventor of a revolutionary form of treatment called the GRAY METHOD. This type of treatment unlike others, addresses the CAUSE rather than just your SYMPTOMS with a full body approach. For more information on how to ease or overcome your injury, go to www.backinmotionsspt.com.

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