Did you know that arthritis is not a single disease? It’s a broad and informal term that means “painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints” (source). And despite its prevalence, arthritis is not very well understood by the medical community. People of all ages have arthritis, but it’s much more common amongst seniors. If you suffer from this condition, we encourage you to explore natural remedies for arthritis to protect your joint health, mobility, and quality of life.
Natural Remedies for Arthritis
People used to think that exercise aggravated arthritis, but in fact the opposite is true so long as you choose the right sort of exercise. Running isn’t recommended, for example, but low-impact activities like swimming, biking, and walking can be beneficial. They can strengthen the muscles around your joints, maintain your bone strength, give you energy, improve your sleep, help you lose or maintain your weight, and even enhance your quality of life. Before starting a new exercise program, consult your doctor and discuss which types of exercise will benefit your body without aggravating your joints.
The reason weight loss can relieve arthritis is very simple: Excess weight on the body puts extra stress on your weight-bearing joints. Focus on your diet and fitness to lose weight. For every pound you lose, you’ll reduce the pressure on your knees by four pounds (source). If you lose enough weight, your symptoms may even disappear!
In some situations, especially those in which a person’s daily activities are limited by inflammation and painful joints, physical therapy can help relieve arthritis. This might include exercises that strengthen the joint and increase range of motion, such as aerobics, strength training, range-of-motion exercises, and balance moves. A physical therapist might also recommend splints or braces to support the joint.
Hot and Cold Temperatures
Heating pads and cold compresses can help relieve arthritis pain. Experiment with these hot and cold options to find out if one (or both) works for you. Hot treatments can relax the muscles and increase blood flow, while cold treatments can reduce swelling and inflammation. Be careful not to overdo it, however. Apply and remove the treatment in phases, and don’t use a product that’s so hot, your skin burns.
Canes, walkers, shoe inserts, braces, and other assistive devices (like raised toilet seats, grab rails, etc.) can provide support and prevent you from straining your joints. They may also help reduce the joint’s load and restore normal weight distribution.
In addition to the natural remedies for arthritis listed above, some people swear by acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage, meditation, supplements, or even magnets. The evidence for these techniques is limited or absent, however, so we’re hesitant to recommend them wholeheartedly. Feel free to discuss them with your doctor if you’re curious.
Most importantly, we encourage you to talk to your doctor to learn more about arthritis and receive advice regarding the particular type of arthritis from which you suffer. Your doctor can work with you to develop an exercise and therapy plan that works for you.
Maintaining an active lifestyle is key to your overall health and mental wellness, which is why it’s part of our focus at Springhouse Village. We’re committed to providing a friendly and healthy atmosphere where our residents can thrive. To learn about the many things we do to support the health and well-being of our residents, contact Springhouse Village today.