If you are one of the 50-million people in this country who live with arthritis, winter might be taking a toll on your joints. Arthritis sufferers often say that pain and swelling increase as the mercury falls. This can lead to more sedentary days, which can further exacerbate the problem.
While there are some medications that alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, they may come with unpleasant side effects. Finding natural remedies for managing the disease is often a better alternative.
7 Ways to Manage Arthritis Without Prescription Medication
- Maintain a healthy weight: Each extra pound you carry puts four additional pounds of pressure on your knees. Therefore, losing 5 pounds can take 15–20 pounds of pressure off your knees. That’s why maintaining a healthy weight can help to improve the pain of arthritis.
- Check your vitamin D: During the winter months, many older adults stay inside. A lack of exposure to sunlight increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency. When you are deficient in vitamin D, it can lead to pain in your muscles and joints. Talk with your primary care physician about the need for a vitamin D screening.
- Keep moving: When it’s cold outside and you are in pain, the last thing you might want to do is exercise. But one of the best ways to keep joints working is to use them. Swimming at the local YMCA might be an option to consider, especially if they have a heated therapy pool. You’ll benefit from both the heat and the no-impact exercise. If swimming isn’t an option, consider seated fitness activities, a treadmill, or a recumbent bike.
- Make smart food choices: Your diet can play a role in managing arthritis symptoms too. Some foods can increase swelling, which can raise pain levels, while other foods can fight inflammation. Cherries, berries, grapes, cabbage, kale, spinach, and plums, combined with omega-3 rich foods like fish and nuts, can help decrease swelling. Also, try to avoid processed foods, sugary treats, and fast foods.
- Vitamin C may help: There is growing research to indicate that foods high in vitamin C may be linked to an increase in new collagen production. Collagen is a critical component of cartilage, which is often damaged as arthritis worsens. Bell pepper, citrus fruits, cauliflower, cherries, and strawberries may be good additions to your diet.
- Try heated paraffin dips: Try giving your hands and feet a dip in heated paraffin wax. Salons and spas usually offer this service. If you prefer to do it at home, its kits are less than $30. You could also try heated lavender slippers and gloves. These can be warmed up in the microwave and used repeatedly.
- Drink green tea: The benefits of green tea are numerous. One of which is blocking chemicals in the body that are believed to cause inflammation. Green tea may also prevent cartilage from further damage due to arthritis.
Lifestyle360 At Five Star Senior Living
Residents at Five Star Senior Living communities have an opportunity to participate in wellness programs every day. From Tai Chi to swimming, many of these activities can help keep joints damaged by arthritis more flexible. Learn more about Lifestyle360 by calling the Five Star community nearest you!