As the colder months approach, arthritis can creep up on you and become a bothersome and painful issue. Whether you have dealt with arthritis for years or it is a fairly new issue you are learning to deal with, the pain it brings can leave you searching for a remedy. There are many methods that can be used to help relieve pain, and we have compiled a list of some safe practices that can be implemented at home to help manage your symptoms. These treatments should only be done as directed by your doctor in conjunction with any prescribed therapies and medications. Before we dive into treating the symptoms of arthritis, let us first take a deeper look at the root of the problem.
What causes arthritis?
There are many forms of arthritis with no one root cause. Many forms develop over time due to a combination of factors including injury, overuse, gout and pseudogout, family history/inheritance, infection, and immune system dysfunction. Some are at a higher risk of developing arthritis if they are smokers, obese or struggle with high blood pressure. Additionally, females are more susceptible to arthritis than men, and the likelihood of its development increases with age.
While there are over 200 types of arthritis, the most common forms usually fall into one of 7 main categories: inflammatory arthritis, soft tissue musculoskeletal pain, back pain, degenerative or mechanical arthritis, connective tissue disease, infectious arthritis, or metabolic arthritis.
What can I do to help manage my arthritis?
It is important to always talk to your doctor about your symptoms to avoid an inaccurate “self-diagnosis” before seeking treatment. Treatment can vary depending on your specific needs and diagnosis, so always seek a professional opinion. That being said, there are some healthy lifestyle factors that you can implement into your daily routine to help manage your arthritis in addition to the treatment your doctor prescribes.
Some healthy practices to consider:
- If possible, stay physically active.
- Work on achieving or maintaining a healthy weight.
- Reduce any stress that may be added to your joints. Take frequent breaks when working to avoid stress from overuse.
- Keep appointments for routine check-ups with your healthcare provider.
- Keep a journal that tracks each of your symptoms and the time each occurred. Be sure to list the foods you ate that day and any medication you may be taking.
- Check your sleep patterns. Poor sleep can contribute to the onset of arthritic symptoms. Work to establish a sleep schedule and let your doctor know of any issues you may encounter with falling asleep and staying asleep.
- Avoid sitting or standing in the same position for long periods of time. This can cause unnecessary stress on your joints that can cause flare-ups.
- Eat a healthy diet. Certain foods have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce symptoms and pain associated with arthritis. Eating whole foods and avoiding processed foods can help you have a healthy, balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight. Avoid nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes as they tend to be associated with arthritic pain.
Other Forms of Treatment
Our specialists strive to create individualized treatment plans to suit each of our patient’s needs. During your exam, we may recommend a variety of treatment options such as physical therapy, physical activity (accompanied with plenty of rest), natural remedies, and pain medication. In some cases, we may recommend additional nutritional counseling and/or sleep therapy.
Here at Cripe Chiropractic, we put our patients’ needs and comfort first. If you are experiencing pain, we are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take your first step toward a pain-free tomorrow!