Conventional wisdom has long held that some degree of pain and stiffness due to arthritis is simply part of the landscape of aging and that the best thing seniors can do to prevent worsening joint damage and chronic pain is to maintain a healthy weight and keep active. While those are, indeed, recommended as a part of any guide to healthy retirement living, it is no longer a given that aching joints and soreness are a necessary accompaniment to those birthdays celebrated in your golden years.
Battling the Effect, Managing the Pain
New findings support evidence that there are various effective ways to beat arthritis pain, and that a combination of treatments may be the most effective. Just as arthritis is not a single disease, but rather a catchall term referring to joint inflammation. Those who suffer from the side effects of such a condition react differently to drug therapy, exercise, diet, massage, heat treatment, creams, nutritional supplements and alternative therapy.
There are more than 100 arthritic diseases and a wealth of options today to manage the pain, combat the fatigue, and alleviate the effects of those conditions. Understanding your particular form of the disease and aggressive treatment at its onset can slow the progression, prevent further damage, and forestall possible surgery.
British researchers in 2012 claimed to have isolated specific genes that are linked to arthritic disease, leading to hopes for more effective treatment or even prevention, and modern drug therapies have been successful in allowing RA sufferers to lead active, relatively normal lives.
A Comprehensive Approach
It is wise to begin to care for your joints, maintain a healthy weight, not smoke, eat a proper diet, and establish a regular exercise routine early in life. But, even a history of being good to your body doesn't guarantee that the pain, stiffness and loss of mobility that are hallmarks of arthritis won't strike at any age. Even children can be affected. Osteoarthritis can begin or be worsened by injury or accident, or by repetitive movement and stress. RA and some other forms of arthritis are classified as autoimmune disorders with no known cause or trigger.
The good news today is that there are numerous specific steps to combat arthritis that should become a part of your guide to retirement living. At Deupree House, we support these 5 important ingredients for aging gracefully, functioning effectively, and living well—which have also been outlined by British, Australian and American physicians and arthritis researchers as particular beneficial to those with joint inflammation:
1. Focus on total well-being.
Work with your entire expanded health care team to develop a lifestyle that works for you. Be open to alternative treatments and aggressive drug therapy, in addition to psychological counseling, nutritional guidance, physical therapy and numerous other specialties, including surgical intervention, if necessary.
2. Eat to manage and alleviate symptoms.
Learn about natural pain-relievers and anti-inflammatory agents. Go heavy on the Omega-3s and anti-oxidants. Consume foods with high levels of beneficial vitamins, minerals and calcium. Eat a well-balanced diet that maintains a healthy weight.
3. Concentrate on getting the right amount of exercise and sleep.
The benefits extend beyond managing arthritis— your heart and whole body will be healthier, your disposition will improve, your energy will be higher, and your overall disease risk will diminish.
4. Explore complementary therapies.
Acupuncture, massage, herbal medicine, meditation, chiropractic treatment, aromatherapy, yoga, or hypnosis can contribute to your physical and emotional well-being. Or try walking barefoot when you’re at home!
5. Be good to yourself in all ways.
Support groups can be effective in raising your spirits when pain strikes. Music, deep breathing, a warm bath, a pampering day at the spa, a walk in the garden— anything that makes you feel good can also be a beneficial arthritis treatment.