Arthritis can be a painful and debilitating condition affecting both young and old alike. Pain from this ailment can impact your life negatively in a myriad ways, especially as you age, limiting your movement and leading to reduced physical activity, less motivation to venture out and stay social and potentially lead into other issues such as weight gain and a decline in your mental health. However, if you do experience pain from arthritis there are multiple ways to mitigate or reduce it, so you can go about your day to day activities much more comfortably.
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis isn’t one condition, but a catch all term for a range of painful conditions which affect the joints. There are a variety of arthritic conditions all characterised by pain in the joints including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and polymyalgia rheumatica1. There are three main components of the musculoskeletal system at play in the movement of a joint; your bones, muscles and ligaments, your joints being where these three elements meet. In a healthy, pain-free joint, a layer of cartilage covers the base of the bone cushioning movement, and your joint capsule surrounds the cartilage filled with a fluid that further cushions and lubricates the joint. Problems with either of these cushioning systems, or the ligaments and tendons holding these nexuses of movement together can lead to arthritis, which comes with a series of symptoms including pain, swelling, redness, heat in the joint, stiffness and limited movement.
How To Manage Arthritis Pain As You Age
If you experience symptoms of arthritis, it is important to consult a doctor and work closely with them to manage the condition and associated pain. There are a variety of ways to help manage your pain without medication or injections.
It is important to exercise regularly if you have arthritis. While this should be approached under the consultation of your healthcare professional, exercise has been shown to be one of the most effective treatments for the disease. Gentle activity can condition and strengthen the joint, reducing pain2. Staying active also has the added bonus of keeping your weight down, putting less pressure on your joints. Specific physical therapy can also be immensely helpful when dealing with arthritic pain improving posture, strength, function and range of motion in the joint.
Warm water has long been used as a remedy for a variety of pain, from labour pains to sports injuries. Sitting in a warm (not hot) bath will loosen up your painful joint, while the heat soothes the pain and the surrounding water will take some of the weight of your body off the joint, giving you almost instant relief.
It has been found that anticipating pain or dwelling on existing pain can intensify the feeling. This sort of thinking is called catastrophizing and can even bring your pain level up beyond where it should be according to your level of swelling and inflammation. This happens as you block everything else in the world out and are consumed by the pain you are experiencing. Thinking positively about pain and doing things to distract your mind can shift your focus and offer you some relief 3.
The correct footwear has been found to have a large impact on osteoarthritis pain with flat, flexible shoes such as thongs and sneakers cutting down the force your joints experience when you move around. The use of the correct footwear can lead to reduced pain and inflammation when compared to the use of some walking shoes or clogs4. Again, it is important to consult your doctor when making any changes to your life to treat your arthritis.
Another way to look after your joints is to consider daily supplements. If you are looking for clinically trialled Curcumin that offers temporary relief of mild arthritic and mild osteoarthritic pain, then taking two capsules daily of Nutra-Life Bio-Curcumin may help.
As we age it becomes more and more important to stay active, engaging in hobbies to keep us mentally stimulated, remaining social and participating in physical activity in order to prolong our lives and stay mentally healthy. Arthritis can drastically impact all these pursuits with joint pain able to limit the things that we derive joy from. But working closely with our health professionals and employing a range of a pain relief techniques can make living with arthritis far easier.
It is important that we celebrate and embrace the ageing process. That’s why we’ve partnered with stylist and model, Mel Brady, to talk to women who are taking charge and living well.
1Musculoskeletal Australia, viewed at 30/11/2018 https://www.msk.org.au/arthritis/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAuf7fBRD7ARIsACqb8w7DlY6fbeYQ3Pyq1ikkIdkAiIEP1aoNWuO2WH_RJ93LWx4aJp__QlcaAuVqEALw_wcB
2Robert D. Bunning, Richard S. Materson, A rational program of exercise for patients with osteoarthritis, Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism, Volume 21, Issue 3, Supplement 2, 1991
3Arthritis.org (viewed at 30/11/2018) https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/pain-management/tips/negative-thinking-arthritis-pain.php
4Shakoor, N. , Sengupta, M. , Foucher, K. C., Wimmer, M. A., Fogg, L. F. and Block, J. A. (2010), Effects of common footwear on joint loading in osteoarthritis of the knee. Arthritis Care Res, 62: 917-923. doi:10.1002/acr.20165