|Answers for achy joints|
Sure, you can pop a pill to ease your pain, stiffness and throbbing. But these easy fixes can also soothe your sore joints and may even improve your mood:
- Get active. Stretching, strengthening and aerobic exercises can all help control arthritis symptoms, reduce fatigue and improve your overall health. Sign up for a yoga or water exercise class or start a regular walking or bicycling routine. Be sure to discuss exercise plans with your healthcare provider first.
- Eat healthy. There aren’t any “magic” foods that will make you feel better, but eating a healthy diet and controlling your weight will minimize stress on your joints and reduce your risk of other health problems. Stick to foods low in saturated fats and feast on fruit, vegetables and whole grains.
- Seek support. Surrounding yourself with people who know what it’s like to live with chronic pain can give you a more positive outlook. Ask your healthcare provider about patient education programs and arthritis support groups or contact the Arthritis Foundation at www.arthritis.org. And talk to family members and friends about arthritis so they’ll better understand your condition and how it affects you.
- Get enough shut-eye. If pain keeps you up at night, talk to your healthcare provider about making changes, such as trying a new mattress or sleeping position. Other tips for better sleep include waking up at the same time every day, exercising early in the day and avoiding caffeine or alcohol late in the day.
- Cool your aches. To reduce pain and swelling, apply an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas to your sore joints for 15 minutes.
- Relax your mind and body. Try a relaxation technique such as hypnosis, guided imagery, deep breathing or muscle relaxation to control your pain.
- Soak in your tub. A warm, relaxing bath before bed can relieve muscle tension, ease aching joints and help you sleep better.
- Go for a massage. It may feel like an indulgence, but a massage can help decrease pain, increase circulation, reduce stress and improve flexibility. Find a certified massage therapist who treats people with arthritis.