Arthritis can come from pain in the ankles, knees, hands, elbows, or hips, and it can affect just about anyone! Sometimes it’s a pop in your knee as you descend a flight of stairs, or a painful crack in your fingers when you try to open a jar. No matter what pain symptom it may reveal itself through, one thing is for sure: arthritis does not discriminate, and it can affect anyone at any age.
If you are suffering from arthritis pain in your hands, joints, knees, or other areas of your body, it’s time to speak to a physical therapist to discuss drug-free strategies for managing arthritis pain.
Drug-Free Alternatives For Managing Arthritis Pain
According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis affects over 50 million people and is the leading cause of disability across America. Arthritis may result from a variety of factors, including genetics and lifestyle habits, and millions of people turn to medications for managing the pain. However, arthritic pain is susceptible to much more than just medications! Drug-free strategies to reduce arthritic pain relies on a person’s five senses to combat the effects of arthritis, including anxiety surrounding pain, reports the Arthritis Foundation.
While medication treatment may be available, those with arthritis can benefit immensely from the use of non-drug-related techniques for managing symptoms. Below are 6 things you can begin practicing to reduce your chances of developing arthritis, as well as decrease arthritis pain you might be experiencing already.
- Get outside more often! Sunlight helps our bodies metabolize vitamin D. This vitamin is responsible for the proper function of the immune system and bone health. Since arthritis involves the deterioration of the musculoskeletal system, getting enough vitamin D is crucial! Sunshine also triggers the release of serotonin in the brain, boosting mood and acting as a natural painkiller.
- Give yoga a try. Did you know there are a ton of non-traditional means of treating health conditions, including yoga and guided meditation? These are notable for improving arthritis pain. Yoga and meditation can help a person relax and reduce the sensation of pain.
- Eat a nutritious, anti-inflammatory diet. Changes to your diet may benefit your arthritic condition. As explained by the National Institutes of Health, treatment for rheumatoid arthritis combined with improved dietary choices increases the chances of remission.
Eating a healthier diet also offers advantages in other areas. For example, foods rich in antioxidants, such as dark chocolate, may reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and improve your overall mood as well. It also leads back to better management of pain.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight adds stress and burden on the body, and for those living with arthritis, extra weight results in more pain. Don’t jump into a hardcore work out just yet though! Any exercise regimen should be under the supervision of a primary care physician and trained experts, such as occupational and physical therapists.
- Keep your mind busy. Simply spending time doing something such as reading or looking at an old photo album that allows you to reconnect with happy memories can have a powerful effect on the mind and body. This provides a small escape from your everyday routine. Sometimes trying to take our minds off of the problem can lessen the intensity of our pain.
- Avoid injuries by working with a professional. Physical therapy takes a whole-body approach to understanding the exact motions of joints and how to move them without causing pain. Exercising daily is not enough to reverse arthritis, but it can certainly help slow down its progression while easing the painful symptoms. Your physical therapist can help you form a regular exercise routine which can help you lose some weight. This will ease the strain on your joints.
Why Choose Physical Therapy?
A physical therapist can teach you many kinds of stretches and exercises to target your specific areas of pain with your arthritis. You can also stop taking excessive amounts of medication if you decide to go down the physical therapy route, which is a huge bonus to your health and wallet!
Physical therapists are professionally trained to evaluate your condition and provide the correct exercises to meet your needs. Most of the exercises they will teach you can be done on your own at home as well, so you can continue treatment outside of appointments. You might even have some aquatic exercises! Working out in the water provides exercise that is non-impact and extremely calming to the joints. A physical therapist may recommend working out in a heated pool to help relieve pain in arthritic joints.
Discover the benefits of natural pain relief with us!
Arthritis affects the lives of more than 31 million Americans, and that statistic will double to more than 78 million by 2040, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Arthritis does not pick and choose certain ages or races to affect; all races, genders, and ages may develop arthritis. While medication treatment may help, it is far from the best option.
Stop treating your pain with NSAIDs and other possibly harmful medications. Take advantage of physical therapy instead, and request a consultation with one of our skilled therapists today. Peak Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine here to help ease your pain, and we’re just a phone call away.