Keep Moving With Arthritis

In the United States, 28% of all adults have arthritis, a condition that impacts the joints by limiting mobility. With time, symptoms such as swelling and tenderness can cause arthritic pain and stiffness. Most people think that only seniors experience arthritis, but younger adults can also develop the condition. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) are the 2 most common forms of arthritis. While OA is a degenerative form that takes years to break down the cartilage, RA is an autoimmune disease. Working with a rheumatologist is essential for managing the condition and slowing progression. Making necessary lifestyle changes, such as staying active, can preserve mobility and improve quality of life.

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What causes arthritis?

Unlike some conditions, no single factor serves as the sole cause of arthritis. With OA, time tends to be the most significant contributing factor. However, having a family history of arthritis, being older, having suffered a previous joint injury, and obesity can increase a person’s chances of being diagnosed. Since RA is an autoimmune disease, family history, and gender play a more significant role. In particular, women are more likely to be diagnosed with RA, whereas men are more likely to have gout, another form of arthritis. To manage the pain of arthritis, these tips may help.

1. Start physical therapy

The idea of moving might seem like a tall order when joint pain makes the process difficult. However, working with a physical therapist can provide a low-impact plan to help make living with arthritis manageable. Most physical therapy includes stretching and isometric exercises. Outside of physical therapy, incorporating stretching, yoga and swimming into a daily routine will help preserve mobility and flexibility. Staying active through routine exercise typically will allow one to maintain a full range of motion (ROM) in the joints.

2. Lose weight if needed

Unsurprisingly, excess weight does more than just require a person to go up a dress size. Carrying more weight than needed can mean that the body’s joints, like the knees and ankles, have to support a higher load than recommended. Research has found that for every 1lb lost, the knee joint experiences a 4lb reduction in the load carried. While not all arthritis sufferers need to lose weight, if a doctor has been recommending weight loss, take the idea seriously.

3. Consider supplements

A leading cause of arthritic pain is inflammation, which can make movement more difficult. Research suggests that incorporating more vitamin C could seriously benefit people with arthritis. A recent study found that people with OA that complained of arthritic knee pain experienced fewer symptoms when consuming vitamin C regularly. The findings support the idea that the essential nutrient helps to control inflammation. Along with boosting immunity and supporting collagen production, vitamin C can help to control arthritis pain.

4. Check dietary choices

Overall health and diet go hand-in-hand, even for arthritis. People with the degenerative disease should prioritize options such as fatty fish, dark leafy greens, berries, nuts, and even garlic. All of the above contain nutrients like omega-3s that reduce inflammation and vitamins such as C, D, and E that support collagen production for cartilage.

Stand up against arthritis pain

While arthritis can’t be entirely prevented, managing pain and progression is important. Staying active and engaging in routine exercise or gentle activities is essential to prevent joint pain from sidelining a person indefinitely. Likewise, working with a rheumatologist and following any approved treatment plans is also critical to control symptoms.

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