Arthritis is inflammation and stiffness in joints which causes aches and pains. Osteoarthritis runs in my (Peggy) family and I have it in my back and hips. Here are a few tips on how to live with arthritis…
Pain Management – research the many options available for pain medications, a great resource is www.arthritis.org. Educate yourself then discuss the options with your doctor. Learn body mechanics and avoid doing the things that cause you pain. Years ago I went to an amazing physical therapist who helped me identify my problem areas, teaching me how to move in a way that won’t hurt my joints and it has made a huge difference in my pain level.
I also make use of heated lavender flax seed pillows to help ease my aches and pains. Some people prefer them frozen and used as a soft, flexible cold pack but I love heat so I place mine in the microwave for a few seconds and the heat and soothing lavender fragrance are so comforting and therapeutic! Research has shown that smelling soothing scents like lavender increases the feel-good hormone dopamine in the brain and will actually decrease pain…what’s not to love about that!
Exercise – has been proven to slow the progression of arthritis and improve mobility. Check with your doctor before starting an exercise or yoga routine to be sure the exercises won’t harm your joints.
Walking is my favorite form of exercise and it has truly helped me to stay limber and my back, hips, and legs stronger. I wish tossing and turning in bed at night was considered exercise but I don’t think it is!!
I also try to incorporate arm and leg stretches into my day so my joints and muscles don’t stiffen up. I have tried walking on a treadmill but that seemed to increase my hip pain, you really need to test an exercise and see if it’s helpful or harmful. I feel best when I walk every day, I keep track of my steps on my iphone with the free app “Pacer” and I log my steps on an app called “Simplenote”….I also use this app to keep all my lists and notes, I use it all the time and love it! My daily goal is 10,000 steps which I actually do meet once in awhile but realistically I probably average about 7,000 steps a day. As with most people, time is the biggest factor keeping me from reaching my goal…but I will keep trying!
Diet – Certain foods have anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate arthritis pain. Here are just a few: broccoli, cauliflower, olive oil, fish, nuts, mushrooms, popcorn, chocolate, cayenne, garlic, cinnamon, ginger. There are many helpful sites on google pertaining to arthritis and the foods that are beneficial….oh, and I’m so happy chocolate is on that list!
To learn more about living with arthritis check out the many informative websites out there as you continue to live life with this chronic joint disease and as you learn to live in your new normal and enjoy each day for the many possibilities it holds. One of my favorite quotes…”Life isn’t perfect but it has perfect moments”!