Over 54 million Americans live with some form of arthritis, a group of diseases that cause inflammation, swelling, and pain in your joints. Many of us turn to over-the-counter painkillers to reduce arthritis pain, but long-term use can take a toll on your digestive system. Fortunately, you have other arthritis treatment options, and in many cases, a few lifestyle changes can reduce your arthritis symptoms.
Our team of expert physical therapists here at Logos Physical Therapy in Perth Amboy & Somerville, NJ, has years of experience in helping patients like you manage their arthritis symptoms. We encourage our patients to make healthier choices overall, but these are some of the best adjustments to make for arthritis.
The Arthritis Foundation recommends following the Mediterranean diet, as many of the foods have anti-inflammatory effects. The Mediterranean diet is rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, and lean proteins like fish. Not only are these foods great for your health overall, but naturally oily foods like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and nuts help keep your joints lubricated.
Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants that support your body’s natural defense system. They’re also rich in Vitamin C, which has anti-inflammatory effects. Also, veggies like broccoli, kale, and spinach contain high amounts of vitamin K, which helps reduce inflammatory markers in your blood.
We know — the last thing you want to do when your joints are screaming is exercise. However, regular physical activity provides so many benefits for your overall health and arthritis.
Exercise helps keep the muscles and connective tissues that support your joints strong and flexible. It also helps you manage your weight and reduce the amount of stress on your joints. After all, you put at least one and a half times your body weight on your knees with every step you take.
Before starting any exercise program, make sure to check in with our team to learn about what exercises are safe and how to adjust your efforts to maintain your progress.
Cutting out bad habits
If you have arthritis, it’s in your best interest to give up smoking or other tobacco products. Smoking interferes with your body’s ability to generate new cells, which can accelerate the breakdown of cartilage in your joints and increase your stiffness and pain.
It would be best if you also cut back on other unhealthy habits like consuming alcohol or eating fast food. Improving your overall health can make it easier for you to cope with arthritis and reduce the strain on your joints.
Maintaining a healthy body weight
All of these changes can also help you lose weight and maintain a healthy body weight. Obesity is a contributing factor to many conditions, including arthritis. By losing weight, you can reduce the stress on joints like your ankles, knees, hips, and spine, and alleviate your arthritis symptoms.
If you have arthritis and want help managing your condition, give us a call here at Logos Physical Therapy or make an appointment online. We can provide customized physical therapy to manage your pain and keep you healthy and active as well as advice on how to make small, sustainable changes to enhance your health.