Arthritis is the #1 cause of disability in the US with more than 50 million Americans suffering from this condition. The month of May has been designated Arthritis Awareness Month to help people affected by this condition reclaim their active lives.
Here are some treatment options that may help lessen the impact of arthritis:
Physical activity: Even though movement can be painful when you have arthritis, moderate exercise can do a lot to relieve arthritic symptoms. The key is to consistently exercise every day even when you don’t feel like exercising and not to overdo it on days when you feel good. The 3 components of a good exercise program include:
- Stretching: Performing yoga or specific stretches as recommended by your doctor will help improve flexibility and range of motion of your joints.
- Resistance training: Working out with resistance bands, light weights, or your own body weight can help strengthen the muscles that surround and support your joints. Resistance training can also slow down the loss of bone that occurs with aging.
- Aerobics: Low-impact exercises such as brisk walking, riding a bicycle, or swimming are great ways to improve your cardiovascular fitness while protecting your joints.
Lose excess weight: According to research studies, losing 1 pound of excess weight unloads 4 pounds of stress on the knee joint in people suffering from knee osteoarthritis. If you are obese or overweight, even a small amount of weight loss can make a big difference to your joints.
Diet: There is growing evidence that a well-balanced diet along with the addition of certain foods may help fight joint pain and inflammation. Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, & Brussel sprouts may help slow down cartilage damage. Fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, & trout contain omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce joint inflammation. Vitamin C may also be able to slow down progress of osteoarthritis.
Medication: Over-the-counter medications that might be effective in relieving arthritic pain and swelling include aspirin and ibuprofen. For more severe forms of arthritis, prescription medications or pain-relieving injections may also be useful.
Surgery: If the above treatments do not provide relief of symptoms, joint replacement surgery to restore function and mobility should be considered. Consult your doctor or an orthopedic surgeon to find out if you may be candidate for such a procedure.
The Board-Certified and Fellowship-Trained physicians of NewportCare Medical Group provide a wide range of services to people of Orange County, Long Beach, and Riverside in California. Contact us for an appointment today.