There are over 100 different types of arthritis, which is categorized as an inflammation of one or more joints. This inflammation can display a variety of symptoms causing pain and limited movement in a variety of areas of your body.
- Joint pain and skin redness
- Body stiffness
- Reduced ability to move the joint due to swelling
- Hot spots around a joint
Most treatment will focus on reducing your pain and discomfort and preventing further disability. Lifestyle changes are highly recommended and we will cover some of those suggestions here:
Exercise is good for everyone and necessary to maintain healthy joints. There are a variety of choices available for an exercise program that can meet your fitness and ability level. Try aerobics, range of motion exercises and strength training to relieve stiffness, reduce pain and fatigue, and improve muscle and bone strength.
Rest is important to help your body recover from a flare-ups. Getting 8 to 10 hours of sleep every day (including naps) can even help prevent exacerbations. You should also avoid staying in one position for too long or moving in a way that places additional stress on your joints.
- Stress Reduction
Stress can make your symptoms worse. Meditation is a good solution to relieve stress because it helps diminish nagging thoughts and calms your body in the process. Start with just 10 minutes once a day and work up to practicing it morning and night for longer durations. A yoga or qi gong class can also have great benefits.
A diet that is filled fruits and vegetables is important. Vitamin E and antioxidants are key. Selenium can be found in Brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, garlic, whole grains, Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds. You can get omega-3 fatty acids by eating salmon, mackerel, or herring. Flaxseed, grapeseed (canola) oil, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts are also a good source.
Arthritis often affects the joints of the hand. As you incorporate these changes into your lifestyle, you may also find that an ergonomic pen can help alleviate discomfort. The best pen will be one that does not require energy to grip or write with it and has ink so smooth it glides across the paper.
Be sure to talk to your doctor if your joint pain lasts more than 3 days, the joint is significantly swollen or hard to move or the skin around the joint is hot to the touch.