Ways to reduce arthritis symptoms at home

If you’ve been diagnosed with one of the many forms of arthritis, painful and movement-limiting inflammation might be a part of your everyday life.  While you should certainly always follow your doctor’s advice and instructions, there are a number of ways you can help to reduce inflammation through your diet and lifestyle.

 

Less junk

pizza and burger

Many studies have found that diets low or completely devoid of processed foods, including fast food and most of what we generally call junk food, tend to be better for all of us, including those with arthritis.  A healthier, well-balanced diet will provide our bodies with more nutrients that can be used to repair and rebuild damaged systems, including joints.  A healthier diet also leads to a healthier immune system, which can be key to managing the symptoms of inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

 

Anti-inflammatory foods

lemon

Many people are discovering the natural anti-inflammatory properties of ginger.  Making ginger tea or including fresh or ground ginger in smoothies and other meals gives many the same positive effects of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) without any of the possible negative side effects.  Pineapple is another great inflammation-fighting food.  Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain that has been proven to help reduce various kinds of swelling and inflammation.  In addition to being found in pineapple, you can also find bromelain supplements at most drug stores.  Other great natural anti-inflammatories include turmeric, garlic, celery, and beets, just to name a few.

 

Exercise

pool exercise

Even though it can be hard to exercise when your joints are swollen and achy, light exercise is one of the best ways to manage arthritis symptoms for most people.  A little exercise can help improve blood flow and minimize the joint stiffness that comes from inactivity.  Weight-bearing exercises like walking can help with lower-body symptoms, while carrying light weights (like canned vegetables) can help with the upper body.  For arthritic hands, try squeezing a stress ball or other hand exerciser off and on throughout the day.  Swimming and water aerobics are great low-impact ways to get exercise that can help muscles and joints while putting very little stress on joints.

 

Better rest

woman sleeping

A good night’s rest is critical for all of us, but can be especially beneficial to those who suffer from arthritis.  Sleeping well (combined with proper nutrition) gives the body time to do some repairs that can make waking up easier.  A restless night means more moving around (tossing and turning), which means that the body isn’t able to get quality down time.  A restless night also means well, less rest.  Giving our bodies some good “quiet time” helps to relieve inflammation.  Pain and stiffness can make it hard to sleep well, so you should try to find ways to relax as completely as possible before bed.  A warm bath or shower can help, as can a massage.  Consider a massage chair that you can spend a little time in each evening.  A good massage can relax muscles, which can lead to better sleep, which can lead to better mornings that start with less inflammation and stiffness.  If you can’t afford or don’t have room for a massage chair, try simple heat therapy with a heating pad.  A little heat is a great way to relax tense muscles.  You also might try a little meditation at bedtime.  This doesn’t have to be anything formal or fancy–just spend a few minutes focusing on deep breathing, as this can also help to relax stressed-out or hurting bodies, allowing for a better night’s sleep.

 

Your diet can play a role in your chances of developing arthritis

While it’s true that there is no way to absolutely ensure that you never develop any type of arthritis, there are things you can do to lessen your risk as well as things you can do manage your symptoms if you are diagnosed with arthritis.  Arthritis is typically characterized by joint swelling, pain, and stiffness as well as a decrease in the range of motion (ROM) of affected joints.  

 

Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis are both types of inflammatory arthritis.  With inflammatory arthritis, the immune system attacks the joints, causing inflammation and sometimes joint erosion.  Doctors believe that inflammatory arthritis is largely due to a combination of environmental factors and genetics.  One way to decrease your chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis is to include at least one serving of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids in your weekly diet.  Salmon, cod, mackerel, trout, and kippers are good examples of such fish.  Eating leaner (less-omega-3-rich) fish such as cod, canned tuna, or haddock four or more times a week can provide the same benefits as just one serving of a fattier fish.  It’s been observed through various studies that individuals who followed such a diet for at least ten years were only about half as likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as those who did not.  Those who’ve already been diagnosed with RA or psoriatic arthritis can find significant symptom relief by adopting a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, whether through fish (the ideal) or supplements.

fish

An overall healthy, well-balanced diet can help all individuals lessen their chances of developing arthritis as well as many other chronic diseases.  A body that gets proper nutrition (and regular exercise, of course) is more able to make repairs at the cellular level that can help to keep tissues, organs, muscles, bones, and joints in better shape.  If the body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs, it might have to choose, in essence, which systems get priority.  If our diets aren’t even close to healthy and well-balanced, we don’t give our bodies much choice in the matter and are likely to develop different problems across different systems.

 

If you have been diagnosed with arthritis or any other disease that causes painful or motion-limiting inflammation, there are some foods you can add to your diet that will help manage the inflammation.  In addition to foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, foods like pineapple, celery, beets, leafy greens, and blueberries are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, as are herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, cayenne and black pepper, and cloves.  Finding ways to include one or more of these natural anti-inflammatories in your daily diet can decrease the inflammation that comes from most types of arthritis.

 

A healthy diet and regular exercise can also help to stave off arthritis for some and manage symptoms for others by helping to keep our muscles, joints, and immune systems stronger.  Stronger muscles and joints are better able to withstand the ravages of time and arthritis that tends to come with age (like degenerative versions).  A stronger immune system can be key to fending off or managing RA and psoriatic arthritis.

vegetables

In short, avoiding or managing various types of arthritis is one more on a long list of reasons to make the effort to eat better and move more!

How massage chairs can help with arthritis

With our lives busier and more stressful than ever, we could all use a good massage every now and then, right?  The problem with traditional massages and massage therapy is that sessions can be too expensive for most of us to afford with any kind of regularity, if at all.  They can also add time to an already-overstuffed schedule, especially if you have to factor in drive and wait time.  Massage chairs can be a great and cost-effective alternative.  Those who suffer from arthritis can find massage beneficial since it promotes relaxation, which can lessen the stiffness that so often comes with arthritis.  A more relaxed state can also promote better sleep.  Better sleep, in turn, can further lessen the joint pain and stiffness that accompany arthritis.

dreamwave massage chair

The most feature-packed massage chairs can actually offer full-body massages with different zones for neck and shoulders, back, arms, and legs and feet.  Some allow you not only to select specific zones, but will also allow you to program different settings for different zones.  Some massage chairs rely on a vibrating massage, while others employ rollers that more closely resemble a more intense shiatsu massage.  While the roller-type massage does more closely resemble the kind of massage you’ll get at a spa than does the vibrating type, some who are especially sensitive to touch often find a vibrating massage easier to tolerate.

 

For added pampering, you can opt for a massage chair that also offers heat therapy.  Combining massage with heat is one of the best ways to relax tired, achy, and stiff muscles.  And, unlike when you go to a massage specialist, you can take those relaxed muscles straight to bed and probably be surprised at how much better you sleep.  A good night’s sleep can make a bigger difference to overall well being than you might imagine.  Our bodies need quality downtime (sleep) in order to rest and recover from the stresses of the day.  Restful sleep allows our bodies and brains to make cellular repairs in addition to just giving our systems a much-needed break.  A body that can rest comfortably and relaxed is much more likely to wake up feeling more comfortable and relaxed, which can be a key to helping those suffering from arthritis to manage their symptoms.

 

When shopping for a massage chair, make sure you know how much floor space you really have and this page will help you choose the best massage chair for you. Most models do have a considerably large footprint, especially when reclined, and you certainly don’t want to get one home only to discover that it doesn’t fit where you thought it would.  You’ll also find models that offer only a few basic settings as well as some that seem to have more bells and whistles than you thought a chair could contain!  There are even some models nowadays that are bluetooth-enabled and will sync massage pulses to music!

full-sized massage chair

If you haven’t got the space or the budget for a full-sized massage chair, you might consider a nice foot massager.  Obviously, these units won’t massage your whole body, but most people are surprised at how many all-over aches and pains can stem from tired feet and legs.  Basic vibrating foot massages aren’t usually as effective as roller models, simply because a vibrating box doesn’t offer the same level of massage as a roller.  You can find both of these types of massages in dry or water-filled versions.  A nice soak offers its own benefits, so combining rollers with water is typically your best bet for a basic foot massager.  Going up the foot massaging ladder a bit, you can find models designed to massage the calves in addition to the feet.  Some of these feature half-sleeve-type massaging cushions for the back of the calves only, but others can offer a great massage for your entire lower leg and foot (including the top of the foot).

For  the best portable massage chairs, you can check http://massagers.pro/best-chair/portable.

 

While any quality massager will cost more than a single session at a spa, their value over the course of time really doesn’t compare.  For the cost of a few to several spa massages, you can have a massage chair that’s waiting for you (and the rest of the family) every night, and don’t forget to follow these recreation suggestions for moms.