Coping with Arthritis

arthritis hands pain imageArthritis affects 46 million people in the U.S. That’s nearly one in five people. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, but the most common is osteoarthritis. It affects men and women in equal numbers.  Arthritis is not an inevitable part of aging, most people develop osteoarthritis after 45, but it can occur at any age. And the good news is that there  are now better treatments to relieve pain, stiffness, and discomfort.

A Health Canada study published in 2003 indicated that 1 in 6 Canadians has some type of arthritis (most commonly osteoarthritis), and 60% of them are under the age of 65. It affects about 10% of the population in Canada. By 2026, it’s estimated that more than 6 million Canadians older than 15 will have arthritis, up from 4 million Canadians today.

Knowledge is power

There’s a lot to learn, but the more you understand about every aspect of your treatment plan, the more likely you are to benefit from it. Knowledge really is power. Learn to wield that power as an active participant of your own treatment team. Learn as much as you can about all the strategies available to you — whether they’re medications or non-medicinal techniques. That understanding is an important step toward your becoming an arthritis self-manager.

arthritis hip pain imageArthritis: Keeping your joints healthy

If you or someone you love suffers from arthritis, the Harvard Medical School  report Arthritis: Keeping your joints healthy can provide important information and advice on the latest medical advances, self-care strategies, and important lifestyle changes that can greatly improve quality of life.

Living with arthritis can be disruptive and disconcerting. The pain and stiffness can make it difficult to perform the daily tasks that most people take for granted. Even things like putting on socks or cooking dinner can be exhausting. Therefore, if you have arthritis, it is important to take especially good care of yourself—to relieve pain, improve function, and cope with difficult emotions. In fact, the American College of Rheumatology recommends not only medication but also nondrug treatments for people with osteoarthritis of the hip and knee. These methods include weight loss, physical therapy, and complementary therapies, such as acupuncture and massage.

Living with Arthirits

It makes sense that eating healthful foods, shedding pounds if you are overweight, strengthening your muscles, and learning to move your joints safely are helpful regardless of which form of arthritis you have and which  joints are affected.  Paying attention to diet, weight, and  exercise is important for preventing heart disease, which has been  linked to rheumatoid arthritis  and lupus.

Physical and occupational therapy are already widely accepted by  doctors. Complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic, are emerging as promising treatments  for osteoarthritis In addition, if you find particular chores or activities difficult, a growing array of assistive devices and tools have been designed to help.

arthritis knee painWhat’s in Arthritis: Keeping your joints healthy?

If you have arthritis, you can take steps to protect your  joints, reduce discomfort, and improve mobility — all of which are detailed in the report. Because describing your symptoms is so important for a correct diagnosis, this report discusses the variety of symptoms that may occur and which are typical of particular kinds of arthritis.

In addition, you will find detailed information about diagnosis and treatment of the two most common types of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, along with a brief look at several other types, including gout, pseudogout, and infectious arthritis. It also includes information on established medical therapies as well as complementary treatments  such as acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage. Because living with arthritis requires more  than  finding a drug treatment, a special section provides advice about how to care for yourself through exercise, diet, and useful gadgets.  Millions of people must live with arthritis and this report suggests ways to live well.

References:
Information on arthritis diet, exercise, nutrition, prevention and risk factors.
Arthritis pain relief foods
Arthritis natural treatment: Foods and drinks to add to your diet

Coping with Arthritis

I have arthritis and I have adjusted my diet to eliminate foods that tend to cause inflammation and trigger pain. Diet experts recommend seven basic guidelines you should follow:

  1. Maintain an ideal weight.
  2. Eat a wide variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts, fish, and dairy products.  Fruit and vegetables ought to be eaten raw whenever possible as cooking destroys folic acid.
  3. Do not over-consume red meats and foods containing high fat content and cholesterol.
  4. Consume  sugar in moderation.
  5. Eat foods with enough starch and with high fiber content.
  6. Avoid over-consumption of  sodium.
  7. Alcohol should only be drank in moderation.

In addition I use yoga, essential oils and massage as well as warm water bathing to reduce pain.

Essential Oils Arthritis Massage Blends
Place the carrier oil in a clean container, add the essential oils and mix.  Massage your joint and muscle as necessary to reduce the pain.

  • 1 ounce flaxseed oil
  • 1 ounce hemp oil
  • 4 drops Helichrysum oil
  • 4 drops Chamomile oil
  • 3 drops Coriander oil
  • 2 drops Benzoin oil
  • 1 drop Ginger oil
  • 1 drop Black Pepper oil

Discussion

Do you have arthritis? If so, what do you do to cope with it and live well?

Does anyone near and dear to you have arthritis? If so, what do they do to cope with it and live well?

29 thoughts on “Coping with Arthritis

  1. Hi,

    I suffered gouty arthritis for four years now..I did not believe it when i first noticed my big toe swelling, i only thought it was a simple sprain but to my dismay, my GP told me it is a severe form of arthritis developed because of too much urate. The primary cause was poor diet. I am better now, i don’t suffer much attack but i have to religiously mind my diet, not avoiding foods actually but eat everything in moderation.. it really pays to have a watch on your diet..Thanks for your article.

    • Hello and welcome to my blog,
      I am so glad to hear you are managing your diet. I have a family member who suffered so miserablyy with gout but the silly refused to listen to reason and change his eating patterns until he could barely hobble about. When he finally gave in he ended up eliminating or drastically reducing consumption of 3 of the foods listed in my post. It was wonderful to witness his pain subsiding and his sense of humor returning.
      Thank you for commenting. :)

  2. Keep moving, keep bending, keep the internal bits squished about, keep interested, keep romantic – these all help me.

  3. I have arthritis in my hands, along with chronic back and neck pain that really flares up when my inflammation goes up. The biggest influencers are food and drink. My body just doesn’t tolerate some things anymore. Pasta, potatoes and rice all make me suffer the next morning. Anything more than one glass of wine and that happy glow the night before is followed by aching and stiffness.

    I’ve found that Glucosamine and especially MSM helps a lot. And I try to be very mindful of what I eat these days. Thanks for all the info and reference links ~ I’m always looking for new things to try.

    • I’m so sorry to hear this and as I also have arthritis in my hands, spine, hips and feet I can certainly relate.

      I tried Glucosamine and MSM without and without devils claw. Without devils claw I noticed no appreciable difference to the athritis. With it I had an upset digetsive system and bowels but no no appreciable difference to the athritis. So after 18 months, years ago now, I simply quit taking them. I’m so very happy to hear they work for you. Thanks for sharing. :)

  4. Fortunately, I don’t have any of these problems yet. I think stretching and strengthening exercises for the muscles around the joints help a lot. Because of my gymnastics and bodybuilding background I’ve always been very conscious of properly warming up my body before any kind of physical activity, therefore avoiding injury. I know many athletes who developed arthritis later in life due to overexercising and causing damage to their joints.

    • Hi NP,
      We can develop arthritis at any age but when it comes to joints many of us find that any joints and that were overused as you describe, or injured during our earlier years do develop and osteo-arthriti in later years. It sounds like you know how to take good care of your body and that makes me happy. :)

  5. I don’t have arthritis, and don’t want it either! The advice above seems like a great way to stave off not only that disease, but a host of others, too. The older my body gets, the more I respect ‘clean living.’

  6. This is very useful knowledge. Most people aren’t aware that OA is a completely ordinary and normal part of the aging process, so it always requires managing. People used to not survive as long as they do now. Anyone who lives past 70 is highly likely to experience it. If you make it to your 90s, your chance of having it is 90%. Thanks for your info.

    • Hi Mike,
      As you can tell my medicine is all very basic and I’m conservative in it’s use. I’m not drawn to drugs and have too many sensitivities to go down that path. I take of myself well as I can as did my mom and my grandma before me. But as you say OA is almost inevitable these days as we are living longer. Thanks for visiting. :)

  7. TT and WIngstruck, excellent advice!
    I’ve been doing yard work for my inlaws this week and man do my hands and knees kill me. I haven’t had a flare up in my hands in ages even with all the typing I do. I haven’t seen half of these oils in our small ummmm interesting city. But when I get some money I’m gonna go on a hunt for them. It sounds quite devine. I will say that Keep Active is excellent advice because when you stop moving, depression can get in and that can make the pain that much worst. Awesome article TT, thank you for sharing your priceless information!

    • Hi Bats,
      Keep movingis good advice for sure and if you haven’t tried massge I recommend you do. I hope the oilds aren’t hard for you to find. Try asking at a health food place f you can’t find them earily avaialble. Thanks for visiting and entering the discussion too.
      Love,
      TiTi

  8. Very informative and concise advice.I myself live with a form of arthritis.
    Arthritis is associated with elderly people,that is not the case.In my early
    teens i presented with joint pain,swelling and painful joints,as well as
    mirgraine headaches and a general unwell feeling everyday.I never imagined
    i could at my age be diagnosed with this.
    As a teenager it was especially difficult.I was no longer in control of my body
    i was put on strong traditional medicine,referred to a reflexoligist,went through
    months of testing,from blood works,to mri scans.
    I was affected physcologically by this dibiliating disease,facing a life of my
    body gradully breaking down,getting weaker and less mobile.
    Turning to the internet and medical texts only helped me in part,if anything
    it made me focus on the negatives.
    My advice to those recently diagnosed is to focus wholly on the positives
    take it slow,mornings are the worst for all arthritis patients,after hours of being
    stationary.
    Wake up an hour earlier,i gradully start small excercises every morning,rotating
    my joints,instead of just getting up,for the first few hours of my day i spend them
    preparing my body for the day,getting in a healthy breakfast,taking any medication
    or herbal alternative with food,do yoga positions and stretching.
    Swimming ive found to be very good to manage my body and get cardio
    excercise i need.
    At times in my day esp after lunch towards the end of the day,i feel myself
    slowing down.Stairs or long periods on my feet or walking consistantly is now an
    activity i once took for granted.Slight pain and discomfort still,but by slowing down
    taking small breaks,knowing my body,when im tired,i can act on prevention.
    I can lead an active and productive life,and still keep this in check.
    Being labeled with this disease i admit was a eye opening experience,i am
    not defined by my disease,but i can take an active role in conquering it
    and managing it.
    Stay positive,each day as it comes,and just because someone has limitations
    in movement and flexibility,it doesnt mean they have to passively give into it.
    Take control,consult your doctour,look into a course of medication,diet
    and excercise that is personal and useful to you,and stick to it.Have a long
    term management goal in place.And remember Keep Active.

    • @wingstruck
      We are very much alike. I took control of my own medical health and I researched and found what works well for me. I don’t take pharmaceuticals and I have a naturopath as well as a medical doctor. I consult both and make choices based on being as fully informed as possible.

       Like you I do not immediately arise upon waking. I commence a brief body scan followed by a routine of gentle joint rotation, muscle flexing and stretching first. I don’t find swimming to be helpful as I don’t have access to a pool and as the ocean water temperatures are not welcoming most of the year. I have a bathtub that’s extra long and has jacuzzi jets in it. For me dry heat is not helpful but immersion in hot water is. I direct the water jets and position my body in a way that my joints get massaged too.

      It’s so good to hear how you took charge of your life and health. Thanks so much for sharing what you do cope with and to transcend chronic arthritic pain. :)

  9. lifewith4cats says:

    Can I use this essential oil recipe for just general massage too or is it specific for use in pain areas only. I copy pasted the recipe to my desktop. The ginger and black pepper I know will stir up circulation but am unfamiliar with the use of some of the other oils.

    This sounds like it will be nice on hand pain though.

  10. It’s amazing that there are more than 100 different types of arthritis! Thanks for this informative article and the helpful links.

    My father had arthritis. I too get joint pain but I’ve discovered that it’s connected with digestive disturbances and delayed hypersensitivity to foods. I am able to keep it to a minimum by altering my diet. It makes me sad that so many people suffer from arthritis due to hidden, undiagnosed food sensitivities. Not necessarily everyone, but many people do and have no clue. If only they knew the relief they could find from altering their diet.

    I’m curious about the connection you note between sugar and arthritis. I wonder how sugar specifically effects the joints aside from adding to weight.

    I’ll check out these links. Thanks so much.

    • @Sandra Lee,
      I also have many food allergies and food sensitivities that cause digestive problems and flare-up of irritable bowel syndrome. So I’m very careful about what I eat and about the amounts I eat.

      I have never had a “too heavy” weight problem and I’m thankful that this is the case. I’m smiling as I share this with you. If were a horse my body type would be described as “run up light”. I would love to gain 30 pounds but I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon.

      I would be very interested to hear what you turn up regarding the sugar consumption and jointg connection. I don’t have what’s referred to as a “sweet tooth”.

      Thanks so much for contributing to this discussion.

  11. Yun Yi says:

    I am so glad I came I had arthritis since years ago. Now I am suffering from quite serious shoulder pain. Your post is very helpful! Especially the diet and shedding extra pounds!

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