In order to help in the prevention and relief of arthritis in your life create a proactive plan for yourself.   Take stock of your lifestyle and see where you can make improvements.  Listed below are some tips you may find helpful.

  • Diet and exercise planning – Create your own unique diet and exercise plan in conjunction with your health advisor.  Check out on any supplements you may need to take.  Include family members in your planning in order to avoid meal-time stress.
  • Stay active – plan to be regularly, physically active for the rest of your life.  Keep in mind your budgets, seasonal weather conditions and other specific requirements you may have.  Being physically active keeps you alert and in a positive frame of mind which is very important in managing the arthritic condition.
  • Heat/cold – Try alternating hot and cold packs to see if they help in dealing with stiffness and pain.  Remember that when you are alternating, allow body temperature to return to normal before switching from one pack treatment to the other. Hot showers in the morning are a great way to loosen up muscles and joints that have stiffened up overnight.
  • Pain relievers – Work out with your doctor what are the recommended pain relief medicines and ointments you can use whether OTC or prescribed.  Ensure you have sufficient stock on hand at all times so you never find yourself stuck without the necessary medication.
  • Ultrasound – Check with your doctor if it’s useful for you to have ultrasound.  This is a method of helping reduce pain in a painless, easy manner by sending sound waves into the area that is experiencing pain.
  • TENS treatment – Although it has a long name (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), TENS for short is another painless and easy method of achieving pain relief.  Light electrical pulses are transmitted via a small TENS device causing a vibrating or tapping sensation to nerves in the area experiencing pain  Request your health advisor for more information.
  • Fashion – Important and yet, not so important that it is allowed to impact health.  Ensure you wear comfortable clothing and definitely invest in comfortable shoes that provide good support.  The focus should be on comfort so you can move your toes around a bit, soles that prevent slipping or falling and low heels to avoid undue stress on the back, knees and feet.
  • Acupuncture/Acupressure – Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into the skin to stimulate targeted areas in the body. Along with the needles, in order to further stimulate the targeted ‘acupoints’ the practitioner may also apply any of the following – suction, friction, pressure, heat or electromagnetic energy impulses.  The aim is to balance the movement of energy (qi) within the body and thereby restore health.  Check with your healthcare provider for referrals or search under ‘holistic services’ in directories.

Acupressure is similar to acupuncture and is also referred to as ‘relief with fingertips’.  While acupuncture uses fine needles, acupressure employs the hands to aid in healing.  Knuckles, fingers, thumb and palm massage techniques are used in surrounding areas, depending upon the targeted spot and type of arthritis.  According to traditional Chinese acupressure,   four kinds of arthritic conditions are described, that work singly or in combinations.  They are:

Wind – reveals itself in the body in the form of moving aches and pains that are worsened by the wind.

Cold – shows up as swollen and painful joints that are sensitive to fog, rain and high humidity conditions.

HeatShows up in areas that are reddish and inflamed and on touching may feel hot.

            Damp – shows up as aches during extreme weather conditions
        i.e. during colder, decreasing temperature conditions and storms

Check with your healthcare provider for referrals or search under
‘holistic services’ in directories for practitioners of acupressure.

  • Aromatherapy – This is the practice of using scents for treatment.  Availed of by some arthritic patients, it offers pain relief, skincare, revival, rejuvenation and management of stress. 

Mode of treatment is to use pleasant aromatic botanical oils by massaging into the skin, adding to bath water, diffusing their scent into the surrounding environment or inhaling directly. Aromatherapy oils have been reported to help in relaxation, affect moods, lessen anxiety and fatigue, stimulate olfactory nerves when inhaled and thereby help the brain and nervous system.

Aromatherapy is one of the fastest growing alternative forms of treatment for pain and stress relief and is used in homes, clinical and hospitals environments.  With regard to arthritis, aromatherapy treatments vary and oils used include Cinnamomum Camphora (Camphor),  Cupressus Sempervirens (Cypress),  Eucalyptus, Ginger, Hhyssopus Officinalis (Hyssop),  Juniperus Communis (Juniper), Lavandula Officinalis (Lavender), Matricaria, Chamomilla (Chamomile), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) and Styrax Benzoin (Benzoin).

Here’s  an aromatherapy treatment you can try:

Take 4 ounces of a base oil e.g. almond, avocado, soybean or sesame and add 6 drops each of rosemary and chamomile essential oils. Massage this mix into painful arthritic joints.  For additional relief from pain, relax for around 10 minutes in a tub of warm water to which 10 drops each of rosemary and chamomile oils have been added.

Other aromatherapy oil applications include – mixing  oil with hot water and then inhaling the vapor that rises, lightly dabbing and wearing the oil as a perfume, adding beneficial essential oils to the bathwater.

  • Network – Meet and get to know other arthritis sufferers.  One way you can do this using the internet to just surf and find arthritis forums. 
  • Take breaks – Ensure you get up and stretch your legs every 30 minutes or so especially if your work involves a lot of sitting in one place. 
  • Wrist aids – If you work at the keyboard all day, check for the latest wrist rests.
  • Massage – Those at the effect of arthritis have found that gentle stretching and massage therapy helps in relieving pain, relaxing muscles, reducing swelling and aids range-of-motion in joints.  If you want to give yourself a massage, here are a few tips.
  • For Osteoarthritis:  Take a little vegetable or massage oil on your fingertips and make small gentle circles around the painful area.  Avoid directly massaging the joint and instead work just above and below it with your fingertips.  Do this for 3-5 minutes daily.
  • For Rheumatoid arthritis: Take cream or oil on your fingers and use an effleurage or rhythmic massage on the muscle and tissue surrounding the affected joint.  Do this daily for 5-10 minutes.
  • Yoga – Many arthritic patients have reported improved confidence, self-awareness, mental and emotional health, range-of-motion, blood circulation, relaxation, concentration, health of bones, tendons, muscles and joint ligaments, and reduction of mood swings, stress and pain.  Yoga does not require much equipment to begin – a mat, some padding in the form of a blanket or piece of carpet and pillows.  Classes and instruction centers are often available at many health and fitness places.  Yoga should ideally be practiced under instruction so check with your healthcare provider for referrals.

A few easy yogic poses are the mountain pose, child pose, down dog variation, cat-cow position, reclining twist, deep back rest among others.  These can be done at home but get someone to teach you how to do it correctly. Remember not to strain anything in the process.  Some people find it beneficial to combine soothing music or sound tracks like ocean or nature sounds when practicing yogic positions.  Varying lighting also helps.

  • Physical therapy:  Based on your diagnosis, you can check with your health advisor about finding a physical therapist to help you with exercises.
  • Stress management techniques:  Discomfort in arthritis can be aggravated by stress.  Prevention and cure measures are called for.  A few methods (among many) to deal with stress are – assertiveness training,  learning to cope with your ailment, pet therapy, meditation, deep breathing, pacing, relaxing, resting, communing with nature, hydrotherapy and music therapy.
  • Safety – It’s a good idea to have safety bars and other safety equipment installed around the home, especially for the tub and shower areas, stairways, walkways, swimming areas and such like. 
  • Journal – No matter what your writing ability or style is, it’s good to keep a journal.  Put down your feelings, thoughts, emotions, and record your progress.  Use colors if you’re feeling more creative.  Record any questions you may have so that you can remember to ask them when you meet your healthcare provider.
  • Stay informed – Check with local, state, federal and worldwide organizations for growing information on arthritis.  Get registered on their mailing list and learn about latest information regarding new treatments, drug therapies,  OTC and other medication, surgeries and new pain relief and prevention methods. 



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