Living with Arthritis

At Coffs Coast Health Club we deal with  clients regularly who suffer from arthritis,  we understand how painful and debilitating it can be.   Perhaps you or someone you know has arthritis.  Most people, through a custom exercise program, quickly feel the benefits  gained from adding  regular exercise to their daily routine.    If you want to keep your joints in prime condition you need to take care of them now.   The following article can be of use to anyone, regardless of your age or if you have arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Protecting Your Joints from Damage.

Your joints were designed to last a lifetime. If you want to keep them in good shape, you need to take care of them now. Taking care of your joints means taking care of yourself with healthy lifestyle habits. It also means using your joints the right way and guarding them against damage – or further damage — from rheumatoid arthritis.

These tips can help you have healthier joints even with RA now – and for years to come.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Lose Weight If You Need To

One of the kindest things you can do for your joints is to avoid overburdening them with too much body weight. If you have rheumatoid arthritis in your hips, knees, or feet, excess weight can mean more stress on painful joints. A 2007 study showed that being overweight also makes it more difficult to bring RA into remission.

RA and Exercise: Stay Active

Regular exercise helps maintain joint function, reduce stiffness, and relieve fatigue. It helps relieve aching joints by strengthening the muscles that support them. Regular exercise can also help reduce risk of diabetes and heart disease, which can accompany RA.

Although regular exercise is important, too much or the wrong type of exercise can cause harm – particularly if your joints are already fragile. Choose exercises that place the least body weight on your joints, such as swimming, stationary cycling, water exercise, and light weight lifting. Your doctor or physical therapist can help design an exercise program that’s right for you.

Stop Smoking If You Have RA

Research in recent years has suggested that smoking increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. If you already have RA, smoking can make it more difficult to treat, which could mean more joint damage. A Swedish study showed that smokers with RA were less likely to respond to two common RA treatments – methotrexate and certain biologics, called TNF inhibitors – than RA patients who didn’t smoke.

Use Assistive Devices to Reduce Joint Stress

Using assistive devices can reduce stress on damaged joints, helping protect them from injury or further injury. For example, if you have rheumatoid arthritis in a hip or knee, supporting yourself with a cane on the opposite side can take 20% to 30% of the weight off the joint and improve stability.

Pens, pencils, and toothbrush handles with thicker handles spare the joints of the hands. Reachers minimize stress on the shoulders when reaching for items on high shelves.

Use Your Largest, Strongest Joints

To avoid worsening joint damage, try not to place excessive strain on any single joint. Use larger, stronger joints to spare smaller, fragile ones. Some strategies include:

  • Carry a shoulder bag instead of a clutch or handbag, particularly if it is heavy.
  • Carry grocery bags in your arms, close to your body, instead of gripping them with your hands.
  • Hold small items in your palms, instead of your fingers.
  • Use both hands or the side of your body to open heavy doors.
  • Hold items with two hands instead of one.

Protect Joints: Practice Good Posture

Proper posture protects the joints of your shoulders, hips, and knees. To practice good posture when lifting, keep your back straight, separate your feet to widen your base, and bend at the knees and hips, not the waist.

When sitting, rest your feet flat on the floor and keep your knees and hips bent at a 90-degree angle. Sit upright and lift your chest, imagining a string tied to the second button of your blouse going straight up toward the ceiling.

Eat for Joint Health

Although there is no specific diet to ease rheumatoid arthritis or keep joints strong, some nutrients may have positive, protective effects.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that omega-3sfatty acids — DHA and EPA — from fish oil supplements can reduce inflammation associated with RA. Good sources arefatty fish such as salmon, herring, tuna, and sardines.
  • Calcium and vitamin D. Many people with RA don’t get enough calcium and vitamin D. Both are essential for strong bones — which you need for healthy joints — and can help lower risk of osteoporosis, which can be increased when you have RA. Most adults need 1,000 – 1,200 mgs of calcium a day and 600 – 800 IUs of Vitamin D daily.

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One Response to “Living with Arthritis”

  1. lifturi bistrita Says:

    lifturi bistrita…

    […]Living with Arthritis « Coffs Coast Health Club[…]…

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