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Arthritis describes more than 200 different joint disorders, which have the following symptoms in common :
The two main types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. To ease the problems of living with arthritis, you can make subtle changes at home and at work by adopting some of the suggestions listed below.
It’s important to keep moving-exercise, not sitting, is the right response to arthritis.
This may not be possible initially if your pain is severe, but don’t put your feet up for too long.
Resume everyday activities such as walking to the shops, going to work and light gardening as soon as possible.
Enhance the range of motion in your wrist with this exercise. Slowly bend your wrist backwards and forwards, holding for a 5-second count in each position.
Do 3 sets, 10 times for each hand, 2 times a day.
Eating too many fatty and sugary foods worsens the pain, swelling and redness that characterise inflammation.
You can counter inflammation by eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and a good intake of omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and fish oils and foods such as walnuts, hempseed and flaxseed.
Try changing your diet when your arthritis flares up. Spices such as cayenne pepper, ginger and turmeric contain compounds that reduce swelling and block a brain chemical that transmits pain signals.
Polyphenols called catechins in green tea can significantly reduce cartilage damage.
Resting your wrists on a wrist pad when typing can compress soft tissues-such as tendons, nerves and blood vessels-in your forearms, reducing blood flow to your wrists and fingers.
This, in turn, can increase pressure in the carpal tunnel located inside your wrists and ultimately lead to nerve damage.
Instead, what you should do is use the pad only for support during typing breaks.
Ease strain on smaller, weaker joints by using larger parts of your body to carry heavy items. For example, carry shopping bags using your forearms or the palms of your hands, rather than your fingers.
For everyday wear, choose well-cushioned lace-up or bar shoes with good arch support. Avoid raised heels or choose heels no higher than 2.5cm.
If you’re waking up sore and aching every morning, think about how you’re sleeping. Lying flat on your back forces your spine into an unnatural position, which can strain muscles, joints and nerves.
Your spine isn’t meant to be straight. It has three natural curves: one in your lower back, one in the middle of your back, and one near your neck. Some sleeping tips that you may fid beneficial :
US researchers found that taking ginger extract twice daily reduced knee pain significantly in patients with osteoarthritis, as well as improving knee movement. Ginger has some anti-inflammatory effects, like ibuprofen.
Fish Oils (including Cod Liver Oil)
A British study found that 86% people with arthritis who took cod liver oil had far fewer enzymes that cause cartilage damage compared to those who took a placebo. Plus, they had far fewer pain-causing enzymes.
It doesn’t fight pain immediately in the way that medications such as ibuprofen do. But, over time, glucosamine becomes an effective pain reliever and anti-inflammatory.
You can use a drug such as ibuprofen for prompt pain relief, but start taking glucosamine at the same time. It takes about six months to experience the maximum benefit, and by this time you may get enough pain relief from the glucosamine to allow you to stop the ibuprofen.
Surgery such as a hip-joint replacement can help to alleviate pain and improve movement but this depends on the severity of your arthritis and the strength of the surrounding muscles.
You may want to consider surgery in the following circumstances :
The combination of warm, running water and light exercise, requiring complex movement of the wrist and hand is an effective and low-cost way of rehabilitating the hand and wrist after injury or surgery.
It will also keep your wrists and hands flexible with good blood circulation if you have arthritis or other painful problems.
Keep a small rubber ball on your desk and in your car. Every time you get up for a screen break (at work) or stop at a red light (when you are in the car), squeeze the ballabout 20 times in each hand.
This helps to strengthen your hands and improves flexibility.