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Dealing with Arthritis

Arthritis is painful. It is a condition that involves inflammation of the joints. This can be from an accident, injury or just plain wear and tear. In any case, it is not just the pain that can stop you in your tracks. Arthritis also involves limited mobility and swelling when a joint is overworked.

Risk factors for Arthritis

Are you at risk for arthritis? There is a gap between normal wear and tear and aggravated wear and tear. The difference is your level of risk. These factors can include weight, injury, infection, occupational hazards, age, gender and heredity.

Knowing your risk and what has led to your arthritis can help in making changes that will better your life in the long run. Let’s begin with factors within your control. These would be things like weight, infection and your occupation.

Added weight to the body increases the pressure on your joints. A healthy diet and exercise plan can help you lose those extra pounds that are affecting your joints.

How about your job? Is there heavy lifting involved? Inflammation in the joints can be caused by a lack of lubrication and more bone rubbing against bone. That supportive cartilage and fluid can be displaced by poor technique when lifting and through falls and injuries.

There are also risk factors that you can’t control. We are all getting older each day. Part of aging is the wear and tear it takes on the body. Women are also prone to bone issues like osteoporosis, especially after menopause. You could also be predisposed to some forms of arthritis depending on your family history.

What You Can Do about It

Arthritis doesn’t have to rule your life. You don’t have to go into a shell just because your joints hurt. There are ways that you can fight back.

* Exercise – Exercise is not the enemy. It can help you to lose unwanted pounds that are increasing the pressure on your joints. It can also strengthen the tendons and ligaments supporting your joints.

* Medication – There are many choices in this category. It is always best to choose the one that will manage your pain at the lowest dose. Consult your doctor before deciding which pain reliever to take. A good portion of the pain is caused by inflammation. Taking NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) will reduce inflammation to manage pain. There are also steroid injections which work for months to limit chronic joint pain.

* Eat for your health – Sometimes what we eat has an effect on our joints. Consume more vitamin D and calcium to build up stronger bones. Certain foods can provide antioxidants which fight the effects of aging like arthritis.

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