As Baby Boomers continue to age, all kinds of aches and pains will continue to multiply and grow at an alarming rate. Chief among these is arthritis, which currently affects one out of every five American adults and is the leading cause of disability in the United States today according to the Arthritis Foundation. An aging population means that an estimated 67 million Americans will have arthritis by 2030.
Arthritis occurs when joint cartilage or muscles wear away or are destroyed, and a bone ends up rubbing against other bones. It’s estimated that there are currently more than 100 conditions and diseases that can cause arthritis, but unfortunately, there’s no cure.
But there are some steps you can take to minimize the impacts of arthritis.
Check Your Eligibility
- Lose weight. The heavier you are, the more pressure you put on your joints. Taking weight off reduces that stress. While movement may be painful, not moving can make arthritis symptoms even more pronounced. Because arthritis can run in active and dormant cycles, try to focus on exercising more when no flare-ups are present. Some studies have also shown that fat tissue produces chemicals that increase the amount of inflammation for arthritis sufferers.
- Drink green tea. Green tea can produce changes in the body that will serve to reduce inflammation.
- Take Vitamin C and flavonoids. These also help reduce inflammation and prevent cells from oxidative damage. Get Vitamin C and flavonoids either through a daily supplement or by eating fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants. Among the best of these are blueberries, grapes, apples, pears, strawberries, black beans, cabbage, onions and tomatoes, among others.
- Eat fish. Fish is high in omega 3 fatty acids that also help reduce inflammation. The omega 3 fatty acids contain protectins and resolvins and can offer arthritis relief without the side effects that some arthritis drugs may cause.
- Pay attention to small acts. You can take many small steps throughout the course of a day to protect your joints from undue stress. When possible, use the palm of your hand to open doors or move objects. Slide objects instead of lifting them when it makes sense. Always think about how you can protect your joints as you go about daily tasks.
- Take glucosamine. Glucosamine is a jelly-like substance that is found in cartilage, aiding in the smooth operation of joint bones. It has long been considered an excellent natural supplement for arthritis sufferers.
- Stretching exercises. Either on your own or with the help of a physical therapist, you should design a stretching regimen to help loosen your joints and your body. You might start by taking a shower to warm up your joints and then go into your stretching routine.
- Use moist heating pads. Moist heating pads are available at most pharmacies, and can be applied to problem areas of your body in 15-minute increments to help you get some temporary pain relief.
- Hot wax baths. If you’ve been to a county fair in recent years, chances are you’ve seen hot wax booths that let you make an impression of your hand in lot liquid wax. When it cools and dries, you have a unique keepsake. There is a home remedy counterpart that can be found in drugstores or online that is very similar. Many patients prefer this over heating pads because the hot wax completely envelops hands and fingers, or feet and toes.
- Use the right tools. Many household tools, such as manual can openers, knives and other items are manufactured with larger handles, bigger twists or easy-to-grip extensions that can keep small daily tasks under control. Many of these items are sold in regular grocery and department stores. You may also be able to find them online as well.