With over 10 million UK people suffering from arthritis, it would be fair to say that if you don’t have direct experience of it, you probably know at least one person who has it. While it can be an extremely painful condition, causing stiffness, reduced mobility and pain – the good news is that some small lifestyle tweaks can help manage symptoms and progression.
Many people with arthritis are concerned that exercise will hurt, but although you may feel slight joint pain after physical activity, particularly if you haven’t done it for a while, exercise has been proven to help reduce arthritis pain and improve muscle and joint function. What’s more, when you exercise, the body releases endorphins, its own natural painkiller.
The benefits of exercise don’t stop there – you can also preserve your bone density, reduce your blood pressure and improve your quality of sleep. Most importantly, exercise doesn’t have to cost a thing!
Not All Types of Arthritis are the Same
The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is caused by the wearing down of the cartilage covering the joints and the ends of our bones. As the cartilage thins, the bones underneath can become damaged, inflamed and immobile. When you walk, your knees take your weight, so being overweight can cause the cartilage to wear away faster.
Choosing a healthy diet and keeping your weight in optimum range can not only help prevent arthritis but help reduce pain from existing arthritis too. A Mediterranean diet rich in omega three fatty acids and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables can provide an excellent way of ensuring you get the right nutrients to optimise bone and joint health.
While osteoarthritis is mechanical, rheumatoid arthritis is when your own immune system attacks the cells around the joints, most often in the knees, elbows, wrists and back, causing swelling, stiffness and pain. This condition is often managed through medication and corticosteroids, and can worsen over time.
Like osteoarthritis, gout is another arthritis that can be partially managed through self-care such as a good diet and exercise. Gout is caused by a build up of a substance called uric acid in the blood, and the risk of getting it increases with obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and drinking too much alcohol. Although gout cannot be cured, further attacks can be prevented through a combination of lifestyle changes such as changing your diet, drinking less alcohol or losing weight.
Osteopathy for Arthritis
Here at Solihull Osteopathic Practice, we see lots of clients who have arthritic pain. We are an associated practitioner with Arthritis Action, the only UK charity to provide hands-on and practical help for people with arthritis, helping them to improve their quality of life.
By using manipulative massage techniques, gentle movements and stretching, we can help arthritis sufferers alleviate symptoms and ease discomfort. We can also advise on exercise, diet and lifestyle changes, and we can refer to your GP for any further investigations or treatment.
To find out how we can help you manage your arthritis pain, please give our friendly team a call on: 0121 705 4499.