Arthritis Prevention

12 May

Arthritis.  It literally means joint (arthro-) + inflammation (-itis).  Characterized by swelling and pain in one or more joints, often causing limited mobility, arthritis affects 1 in 5 adults during their lifetime. The pain of arthritis may cause some people to give up certain activities that they once loved.

Many of my clients complain that injuries accrued over time have turned their bodies into living barometers.  As soon as the barometric pressure starts to rise or fall, they can ‘feel’ it.  Being able to forecast the weather based on pain levels may be a miserable prospect but there’s a 100% chance I’ll continue to trust my clients’ physical ‘weather forecast’ over the local meteorologist.

Science has not yet pinpointed one single exact cause of arthritis.  While there are over a hundred different types of arthritis that can occur in different parts of the body, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common types.  Osteoarthritis occurs when pain is caused from bones rubbing against each other.  This disease may progress over many years of stress on the joint or could occur after an acute injury.  Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system attacks the bones and joints.  As the disease progresses, it can damage cartilage and bone, causing swelling and pain.

This dis-ease can be caused by a variety of injuries, good old-fashioned wear and tear and genetics.  Accidents, repetitive motion and sports injuries can cause stress on the bones and joints.

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  There may be no guaranteed way to prevent arthritis but the best way of defending yourself is to practice some over-all good habits.

Here are 7 healthy approaches to preventing and relieving arthritis.

NUTRITION:  Eating healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables daily can reduce inflammation in the body. Avoid fatty processed foods and keep your meals light. A daily multi-vitamin is invaluable as are Omega-3 fatty acids to oil and lubricate the joints. Vitamin D helps the body process much-needed calcium and magnesium and Vitamin E also helps to reduce the effects of inflammation.

EXERCISE:  Regular exercise strengthens muscles around joints and helps increase bone density.  Exercise may reduce wear and tear on your joints, which can help prevent injury and reduce the risk of osteoarthritis. Increased bone density also can help stave off osteoporosis. Simple exercise routines and walking are excellent ways to get moving. Swimming helps to relieve stiffness and improves muscle tone. The key is not to push the body but to go through each motion as if it were a stretch; carefully, consciously.

STRETCHING:  Speaking of stretching, it’s very important to spend a little time at the beginning and ending of each day warming up the muscles and stretching the joints gently. Remember, no extremes. Just stretch as far as you can comfortably, breathe through it and let go.  You may find you can stretch deeper the more you relax.

BYE BYE BAD HABITS:  Avoid smoking and limit your alcohol consumption to help avoid osteoporosis. Over-indulging in alcohol and smoking weakens the structure of bones, which puts you at higher risk for fractures.

WATER:  Hydrate your cells with plenty of water each day. Water keeps joints fluid and flexible and escorts toxic waste out of your body, relieving inflammation.

HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY:  Discuss HRT with your primary care provider if you are post-menopausal. Many women lose bone mass during the pre- and post-menopausal years when their ovaries stop producing estrogen.  One of estrogen’s functions is to help keep calcium in the bones and maintain bone mass.  Low estrogen levels are a major cause of osteoporosis in women after menopause.

THERAPEUTIC BATHS:  Taking hot baths can also help to reduce inflammation within the body as well as easing joint pain and discomfort.  Fill the tub up with 1 cup of Epsom salts and 1 cup of baking soda, evenly distributed.  These ingredients will soften the water and help heal the joints, as Epsom salts are pure magnesium and baking soda is a softening agent.  Colloidal oatmeal is also a soothing way to soak away aching joints.

One Response to “Arthritis Prevention”

  1. Arthritis James December 9, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    Thanks for posting this. This information really helps people that are suffering on arthritis.


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