Arthritis is a chronic condition that affects millions of people; symptoms include redness, swelling, severe joint pain and reduced movement which can seriously affect a person’s quality of life.
Here are a few ways in which you can minimize the symptoms of arthritis:
- Low-impact exercises (such as cycling, tai chi and yoga) can improve joint mobility, relieve stiffness reduce pain and fatigue, and strengthen muscles and bones. Brisk walking reduces pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and is vital when it comes to ensuring healthy joints.
- Physical therapy has proven to be an effective remedy as it can improve muscle strength as well as the range of motion of your joints.
- Applying ice wrapped in a towel will reduce fluid in your tissues and decrease swelling and pain in the affected area. Similarly, a hot water bottle or heating pad applied directly on the swelling will increase circulation and reduce pain. Alternating between both techniques has proven to be especially beneficial.
- Topical creams which contain active ingredients such as menthol or capsaicin, found in hot peppers, can relieve pain effectively.
- Splints, shoe inserts, and/or braces provide support to weakened joints, take the pressure off injured bones and reduce overall pain.
- Relaxation techniques such as meditation and massages, can help reduce stress, inflammation and muscle tension. Other effective alternate treatments include acupuncture, acupressure and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.
- Herbal supplements which contain capsaicin and turmeric are believed to be effective in reducing pain since they have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Gel derived from aloe vera contains natural steroids and vitamins A, B (B1, B2, B3 and B6), C and E, which are effective in relieving pain, as they have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
NB: Consult your rheumatologist before taking any medication, supplement or exercising.
By Dr Samia K.Babar. The writer is Director, Health Awareness Society.