Tips for helping arthritis

Almost four million Australians have arthritis, with the most common types being osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.

The good news is there are many options to help reduce the pain associated with arthritis.

Maintaining a healthy diet

According to the experts at House Call Doctor, eating a healthy diet is important to help reduce pain and inflammation and slow the progression of arthritis. Having a balanced diet helps to maintain a healthy body weight, reducing pressure on your joints.

Weight loss can be hugely beneficial to arthritis sufferers as it can significantly reduce pain and can improve symptoms by about 20 to 30 per cent. Research has shown arthritis sufferers who lose weight have less inflammation and pain, function better, have a faster walking speed and better quality of life.

Regular exercise

Regular exercise can help with balance, reduce stiffness, pain and tension in your joints, and decrease fatigue and depression. High impact activities can be damaging for arthritis sufferers, so it is best to stick to low impact activities, like swimming, water aerobics and cycling.

If you are in pain, it is best to reduce, not stop, your physical activity.

Medication

Treatment for arthritis can include anti-inflammatory medication, painkillers, and medicines that can slow disease progression.

Meditation

Meditation can be used as a pain management technique through breathing and progressive relaxation.

Heat/cold compresses

Muscle spasms can be caused by constriction of blood vessels so applying heat increases blood flow. Cold sensations travel along large nerve fibres overriding pain sensations and reducing swelling and inflammation.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that is believed to restore balance, encourage the body to heal and release natural pain-relieving endorphins.

It is important to consult your doctor on how to treat your arthritis symptoms, and make sure you follow their instructions to avoid making the pain worse.