Jessica Frizzell, PA-C
15 Ways To Relieve Stiff and Painful Arthritic Joints
Arthritis impacts millions of people throughout the United States.
In fact, every year “about one in four adults with arthritis—15 million people—report experiencing severe joint pain related to arthritis. Additionally, nearly half of adults with arthritis have persistent pain,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you are battling arthritis, you know just how severe and persistent joint pain can be, but our team at Paducah Rheumatology wants to change that. We want to improve the quality of life of our patients by helping them to decrease their joint discomfort, stiffness, and inflammation.
Oftentimes, managing arthritis requires a multi-step approach, though. It is through a combination of techniques that patients find relief. This is a list with a proven track record of reducing joint pain and stiffness.
#1 - Heat
Applying direct heat, aka heat therapy, to a certain joint of the body is a way to increase the blood flow to that area. When heat is applied to the joint, the warmth opens up blood vessels and the increased blood flow brings oxygen and nutrients to that part of the body. Even taking a hot shower or spending time in a sauna can benefit stiff joints.
#2 - Ice
On the other hand, joints can also benefit from the cold. The cold decreases blood flow and when a joint is inflamed and stiff, the decreased blood flow can help reduce the inflammation.
#3 - Exercise
Movement is everything for arthritic joints. The more stationary you are, the stiffer those joints can get. The key to improving joint pain and stiffness through exercise is choosing arthritis-friendly options that cater to your personal abilities. Pushing your body too hard can be just as damaging as staying sedentary.
#4 - Weight Loss
When you maintain a healthy weight, your joint function can improve. Excess weight can exacerbate arthritis symptoms by putting extra pressure on the joints.
#5 - Stretching
Stretching can improve your flexibility and increase the range of motion of your joints. You will see the best results when you incorporate stretching into your exercise routine. Stretch those muscles once you have already warmed up or completed your workout.
#6 - Massage
You can ease the tension in your joints with gentle massages. Deep pressure massages generally do not feel the best on arthritic joints.
#7 - Acupuncture
Acupuncture is known to stimulate endorphin production, which can in turn help with pain management.
#8 - No Smoking
Research has shown smoking can make arthritis symptoms worse. If you use tobacco products, consider quitting.
#9 - No Alcohol
Alcohol has inflammatory properties, and more inflammation is what you are trying to avoid when working toward decreasing joint pain and stiffness.
#10 - Diet
Similar to alcohol, certain foods are considered pro-inflammatory. Patients have reported huge gains when eating an anti-inflammatory diet and cutting out pro-inflammatory foods.
#11 - Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy
Many arthritis patients have found therapy to be a wonderful resource. Whether through physical or occupational therapy, seeking the help of a trained medical professional that can offer expert advice might be your ticket to better joint health.
#12 - Meditation/Mindfulness
Meditation has both physical and emotional advantages. When you take the time to slow down, relax, and connect your mind and body, you give your joints the chance to release built-up tension.
#13 - Mental Health Support
Study after study has shown emotional and physical health are intermingled. While it might not seem like the obvious answer to resolving your joint pain, receiving mental health support from a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist can do wonders for your overall well being.
#14 - Vitamin/Herbal Supplements
Many arthritis patients struggle with low vitamin levels. When taken consistently over a course of time, supplements have proven to be a helpful remedy for joint pain.
#15 - Medications
Under the care of a rheumatologist, prescribed medications and over-the-counter medicine can be used as part of your arthritis joint care.
Managing joint pain and stiffness requires an individualized approach, and here at Paducah Rheumatology, we like to explore any of the above options for each one of our patients depending on their personal needs and specific conditions.
Give us a call at 270-408-6100 today to schedule an appointment, and please send in a physician’s referral if you are a new patient.
Let’s work together to formulate a treatment plan designed just for you!