Arthritis currently impacts more than 50 million people across the nation. It is the tenderness and swelling of one or more joints in the body that can cause pain and stiffness. Arthritis symptoms can heavily impact a person’s quality of life and at times, be very difficult to manage. But it’s not impossible! Arthritis management is definitely feasible. And sometimes, something as simple as stretching can make a positive difference.
The type of arthritis you have and the level of pain you’re experiencing will determine the treatment you need. But, there are 3 easy things you can do throughout your day to help you manage your arthritis symptoms. You may even be surprised by what a big difference these simple actions can make!
Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Inflammatory arthritis causes inflammation in the body that can lead to swelling and discomfort. If you’re eating inflammatory food on top of that, your symptoms will only worsen. These are typically foods that are processed, fried, contain red meat, or are refined grains. There are, however, foods that help calm down inflammation. These are known as anti-inflammatory foods!
According to Danielle McAvoy MSPH, RD, Territory Food's Lead Registered Dietitian, "eating anti-inflammatory foods is an effective way to calm inflammation, making the body more flexible and better able to benefit from stretching."
Try reducing your intake of inflammatory foods and increasing your intake of anti-inflammatory foods to help manage your arthritis symptoms. Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet doesn’t have to be hard – you may even be doing this already! Anti-inflammatory foods include berries, tomatoes, and fatty fish to name a few. If this is something new for you, try incorporating just one of these foods into each meal to help you get started!
Dehydration can cause a lot of negative effects, but especially when you have arthritis symptoms. If you have inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, dehydration can cause your symptoms to intensify. If you have osteoarthritis, which is when the tissue in the joints break down, dehydration will prevent joints from being lubricated enough, causing your pain to worsen.
Drinking water throughout your day can help with relieving symptoms in numerous ways. It helps wash out toxins and reduce inflammation. It helps your cartilage stay healthy, allowing for less friction between your bones and therefore less pain when you move. And it helps prevent stiffness in your joints so you can move with more ease.
To ensure you’re staying hydrated enough, best practice is to drink water in short intervals throughout the day. Only drinking a large amount at once can cause discomfort and won’t provide the lubrication needed throughout the day. Want to take it a step further? Try eating hydrating foods as well such as tomatoes and zucchini!
Stay Moving with Exercise and Stretching
Arthritis symptoms can make moving difficult, but movement is one of the best things you can do to manage symptoms. When the body doesn’t move, the muscles tighten up. This can cause your muscles to pull on your joints and trigger significant pain and discomfort.
This doesn’t mean overexerting yourself! Light, low impact exercises such as walking or swimming can be beneficial for arthritis management because they don’t put too much pressure on your joints. Regularly doing these exercises can help the body stay mobile and allow for less pain throughout the day.
Another simple movement you can do throughout your day is stretching. Stretching will loosen muscles and bring back flexibility, making those low impact exercises easier to do! Plus, the act of stretching itself can help relieve pain by lubricating joints and increasing range of motion. An example of a stretch you can do is slowly turning your ankle clockwise 5 times, and then counterclockwise 5 times. Simple movements like this throughout your day can make a big difference.
Start Managing Arthritis Symptoms
Arthritis relief starts by managing symptoms. While these simple actions may not seem groundbreaking, incorporating them into your day-to-day life can help you take back control of your body. And, you don’t have to do these alone.
Doing exercises, even low-impact ones, can be intimidating and scary when you are experiencing painful arthritis symptoms. This is why an assisted stretch can be beneficial and even essential for anyone with arthritis. With an assisted stretch, a professional like a Flexologist makes sure you are not hurting yourself or making symptoms worse while doing these stretches. At the same time, they also ensure you’re still getting a deep enough stretch to improve your mobility and flexibility.
At StretchLab, a Flexologist is meant to partner with you. This means they take the time to understand what your body is going through and offer support on how to bring relief. In addition to an assisted stretch, a Flexologist will often share tips on improving arthritis symptoms like how to stay hydrated or incorporate more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. So, if you’re ready to start managing your arthritis symptoms and don’t want to do it alone, check out a StretchLab near you!