Arthritis is a common condition that can cause pain and stiffness in multiple joints of our bodies. It can affect nearly any joint, though it’s most common in the hands, knees, hips and lower back. Today I’d like to explore some of the myths related to this potentially disabling condition.
Many people feel that once they receive a diagnosis of arthritis, there is nothing they can do. This is a myth. I empower people by letting them know that their diet and exercises can have an enormous impact.
From a diet standpoint, anti-inflammatory foods, rich in omega-3, such as nuts, dark leafy vegetables, berries and oily fish will have a positive impact on pain and flexibility. Eating a healthy diet and maintaining an ideal body weight decreases the stress across your joints and helps maintain a higher level of lifelong function.
Some people feel that if their arthritis hurts they should rest. On the contrary, gentle movement and activity will make you feel better. Range of motion or stretching exercises may have a profound impact on the pain and function of an arthritic joint. Low impact exercise program such as tai chi and yoga are often more beneficial than any medication.
Exercise can improve strength, range of motion and stability of an arthritic joint. By doing so, pain may decrease. According to the American College Rheumatology, “Exercise and arthritis can and should coexist. People with arthritis who exercise regularly have less pain, more energy, improved sleep, and better day -to-day function.“.
People often ask which is better, heat or ice? A good rule of thumb is, whatever feels better. One caveat, if you have a warm swollen joint, ice is definitely better in the acute phase. In some cases, heat is better at first to help you warm up a joints and when in doubt, use ice after exercise.