Millions of Americans suffer from joint pain on a regular basis — especially if you’re over 30. The pain may be the result of inflammation caused by an injury, or it could be from other lifestyle behaviors. However, there are many things you can do to help relieve your pain.
- Control your weight. If you are overweight, even by 10 or 20 pounds, the extra weight can put stress on your entire body, including your joints. If you’re complaining knee or hip pain, you may need to look no further than the scale to determine the cause of your pain.
- Move your body. Though the pain in your joints may be an excuse for not exercising, moving your joints and getting the weight off will actually help provide some relief. We don’t suggest running (since that can actually make your symptoms worse or even injure you); but, if you have access to a pool, water aerobics and swimming some laps is a great way to exercise without pounding the pavement. Otherwise walking every day and increasing your distance can help.
- Avoid repetitive motion. Daily tasks like typing and even driving long distances can cause arthritis. It’s very important to take breaks throughout the day and practice stretching exercises to combat joint pain.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. These fats have anti-inflammatory properties similar to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil. Taking supplements and eating foods rich in Omega-3 can help relieve pain. Be sure to ask your pharmacist and talk to your doctor about taking any supplement.
- Get plenty of vitamin D. This is an important part of keeping bones healthy. If you don’t eat eggs, dairy or even sardines, you are probably not getting enough. So again, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about a Vitamin D supplement and how much is right for you.
- Quit smoking. Oftentimes, people who are in pain smoke to help with the depression associated with the pain. However, smoking actually increases joint pain. Smoking also interferes with medications and requires higher doses in order to compensate.
- Take your medicine. Missing a dose of your arthritis medication means that there is a gap in your arthritis pain control. It’s easy to skip a dose if you are feeling good, but you might pay later in joint pain and aching knees. Whether your medications are prescription or over-the-counter, you should take them exactly as your doctor directed.
- Prevent falls. Keep your walkways clear of clutter to avoid tripping hazards around your home and office. If you do trip and fall, it could create joint pain or make pain that you already have even worse.
- Get some sleep. Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep report symptoms of pain the next day. Unfortunately, for many people with arthritis, sleep is a challenge because joint pain wakes them up. Nonetheless, sleep is important. Talk to your doctor about arthritis pain control that can help make sleep possible.
- Reduce your stress. When you are stressed, muscles tense up to protect the joint, but that causes you to feel joint pain more deeply. Get a message,acupuncture, or practice meditation techniques to help with the pain.
Many of these tips above are good preventative maintenance measures before you ever experience any pain. So, take care of yourself and avoid the trip to the doctor.