Do you suffer from osteoarthritis? Most adults will experience arthritis at some point in their lives, which can cause pain, discomfort, and other symptoms. Maintaining healthy habits is essential to help keep your body functioning as well as possible for your age. This article will explore how keeping active and making simple lifestyle tweaks can be beneficial when managing osteoarthritis flare-ups. Read on to learn more about what steps you can take today to stay healthier with arthritis!
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis, otherwise known as “degenerative joint disease,” is a common disorder that affects joints of all types in the human body. This gradually destructive form of arthritis typically targets the hands, knees, and hip joints, but it can affect any joint in the body. A specialized cushioning tissue covers joints to reduce friction when they move; over time, this tissue breaks down and causes cartilage to disintegrate due to abnormal wear and tear.
As cartilage breaks down and is further worn away, the bones become raw and painful. Without cartilage protection between them, bones rub against each other, resulting in severe pain that can be debilitating. Fortunately, treatments available for those suffering from osteoarthritis can help ease their pain and promote healing of the affected areas.
Best Ways To Stay Healthy With Osteoarthritis
Maintain Proper Hydration
Proper hydration is essential if you’re living with osteoarthritis and want to stay healthy and active. Drinking plenty of water helps keep your body operating normally, and it’s especially important for people suffering from this condition. As lack of hydration causes back pain and stiffness in the joints, dehydration worsens these symptoms and can make movement difficult.
Proper hydration is a preventative measure that should be practiced regularly for optimal benefit. Accordingly, monitoring your daily water intake is essential: having a glass of water standing by you as a reminder or setting alarms on your phone can help you reach the recommended level of 8 glasses daily. Additionally, getting rid of sugary drinks such as sodas and refreshing your diet with more fruits and vegetables can also help improve overall health when dealing with osteoarthritis.
It can be challenging to stay healthy with osteoarthritis, but regular exercise can relieve the pain and stiffness that comes with the diagnosis. Exercise helps reduce inflammation and strengthen weak joints. Additionally, since physical activity releases endorphins known to increase feelings of well-being, regular exercise can also improve overall mental health.
To get a workout tailored to your needs, it’s best to consult your doctor or a physical therapist for an individualized plan to prevent further damage. Incorporating a mixture of cardiovascular activities and strength training will create an effective routine that you can use proactively and reactively in managing the progression of osteoarthritis symptoms.
Eat A Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet is an essential part of staying healthy with osteoarthritis. Eating fresh, minimally-processed foods and limiting saturated and trans fats are essential to reducing inflammation in the body. Additionally, consuming food rich in Vitamins C, D, and E is beneficial as these increase the production of substances that help keep joint cartilage healthy.
Taking steps to incorporate nutritious foods into one’s diet can go a long way toward improving overall health while living with osteoarthritis. Healthy sources of protein like fish and plant proteins should be consumed frequently as they help cells repair themselves to reduce stiffness associated with the condition. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables also provide fiber and antioxidants to maintain joint health. Lastly, it is beneficial to eat regularly so that joints get rest and pain relief throughout the day.
Take Breaks Regularly
Taking regular breaks is a great way to stay healthy and combat osteoarthritis. This chronic condition causes painful inflammation in the joints and can make daily living difficult. With frequent intervals of rest throughout your day, you not only allow yourself to relax but also give your joints added support by avoiding extended periods of activity.
During breaks, you can also assess how your body feels and decide if it needs a break or further activity. You might spend your break doing gentle stretches for improved flexibility and joint movement. Finally, taking a break when fatigue sets in allows you to conserve energy that you would otherwise use inefficiently due to exhaustion. All of these factors contribute towards better overall well-being with osteoarthritis – making frequent breaks an essential part of self-care.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is vitally important for people with osteoarthritis to remain healthy. Studies show that not getting proper rest can cause the worsening of the disease’s symptoms and lead to further damage to the bones, joints, and muscles, causing more intense pain. To get good quality sleep, it is best to create a calming environment. Set a regular bedtime routine and practice relaxation, such as mindfulness or stretching exercises before bed.
Resist smartphone usage before sleeping, as the light emission from screens can interfere with your circadian rhythm. Lay in a comfortable position on your side or back and sleep on a mattress that properly supports your body without too much pressure on sore areas like hips and shoulders. Also, consider investing in hot/cold therapy wraps or weighted blankets to help reduce pain in those suffering from joint pain.
Stretching regularly is vital for anyone with osteoarthritis or any condition that causes stiff, painful joints. Not only can stretching ease pain and stiffness, but it can help improve flexibility and balance. Sitting and standing in the same position for long periods can cause joint tightness to worsen, so breaking up your normal routine with a few gentle stretches throughout the day can positively impact your health.
Regularly stretching can be beneficial in both the short-term but also have long-term effects, such as better posture, improved range of motion, and increases in physical endurance. When stretching, aim for a deep but comfortable stretch and hold each pose for at least 30 seconds. Make sure not to overstretch, as it could cause more discomfort.
Try Heat And Cold Therapy
Osteoarthritis is a common condition that can cause pain and stiffness in various body parts. Heat and cold therapy are effective treatments, but if not applied correctly may cause damage to the skin. To use this form of therapy safely, one should always start with heat, promoting circulation and muscle relaxation. A warm bath, shower, heating pad, or warm cloth can be used for fifteen to twenty minutes before applying a cold compress.
Taking alternating short hot and cold treatment sessions can bring long-term relief from osteoarthritis symptoms. Cold reduces inflammation and numbing pain, so it should be administered for shorter periods, between fifteen to thirty seconds. Applying a cloth soaked in ice water or keeping an ice pack over the affected area can help alleviate discomfort from this disease.
Talk To Your Doctor
Talking to your doctor is the best way to ensure that you take care of yourself and manage your osteoarthritis. Your healthcare professional can provide vital information, including advice on diet, activities that may help, physical therapies, and medications that provide relief. You should be honest and open when discussing symptoms, lifestyle factors, and concerns with your healthcare provider to get an accurate assessment of any necessary changes to keep you healthy.
If you are uncomfortable speaking about a certain topic, don’t hesitate to ask for more time or alternate methods like questionnaires or online resources, which may help you and your doctor gain insight into your condition. Communication is key, so it’s vital to address all questions for both parties to identify the most effective path forward.
Stay Healthy With Osteoarthritis!
Osteoarthritis is a very common condition that can cause pain, stiffness, and limited movement in the body. Although it can be uncomfortable and challenging to manage, there are many ways to stay healthy with osteoarthritis. With the right combination of lifestyle changes and treatments, those with osteoarthritis can live healthy lives and manage their symptoms.