Arthritis is defined as inflammation of one or more joints. It involves the breakdown of cartilage, which in healthy joints absorbs shock and friction caused by movement of the body. Without this cartilage, bones rub together causing stiffness, pain, inflammation and limited movement.
Ways to ease the pain
• Position notes and lists posted on your refrigerator or desk at eye level to avoid craning your neck to read them.
• Alternate between sitting and standing so you don’t become stiff in one position.
• If you haven’t already, kick the high heel habit. A three-inch heel puts seven times more stress on your feet than a one-inch heel.
• Carry heavy objects as close to the body as you can to reduce stress on your joints.
• Take time to pamper yourself with a warm bath before bed to soothe achy joints and muscles.
• If you have access to a whirlpool, it’s another great option for a hot soak.
• On the other hand, cold packs are great to reduce swelling on individual joints.
• Make sure to see your physician for a routine checkup at least once a year, even if you’re not sick. It’s important for your doctor to examine your individual joints to be sure you’re not mistaking the beginning stages of arthritis for occasional pain and swelling.
• Try getting a professional massage to relieve muscle tension and allow joints to move more freely.
• Last but not least, is weight loss — it seems to be a cause for a lot of problems, and joint pain is not exempt. For every extra pound you’re carrying around, you are putting four times the stress on your knees. The flipside of the coin is that losing even a little weight will help your knees immensely.
Look for more tips on healthy eating and exercises that are easy even with joint pain.
Information provided by Kelsey Klaver, marketing director or Crestview Nursing and Rehabilitation, 2401 Des Moines St., Webster City. For more information, call (515) 832-2727