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Tips for managing arthritis

By Deborah Ben-Shah, DC

What is osteoarthritis?

In my blog titled what is arthritis, I discussed some general types of arthritis that we see in our chiropractic clinic and Fulham. There are over 100 different types of arthritis, however, we are only going to discuss the main type we tend to see in our clinic, which is osteoarthritis. In general, the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis there are pain, swelling, stiffness, and reduced joint mobility. Symptoms can range from being nonexistent, to being severe and can come and go in episodes, or be chronic, constant, and debilitating.

Treatment for osteoarthritis (wear-and-tear)

  1. Chiropractic manipulation and massage therapy techniques. Massages help to relieve pain by relaxing the joints and reducing stiffness in the joints. This allows for better range of motion and mobility and therefore less pain. Chiropractic can't reverse arthritis, but it might stop you from suffering so much as it also improves the function in the joints and helps them to work and move at their best.

  1. There are some supplements that you can take to help relieve the pain in the joints and improve the health:

           a. Glucosamine can protect the cartilage from deteriorating further.

           b. Chondroitin and sulfate can also help to maintain healthy cartilage

           c. Omega-3 fatty acid's, like those found in fish oils, have been shown to have a positive  impact on the health of a joint it can help to reduce inflammation and pain.

           d. Rose hips have been shown in one  to cause a significant reduction in pain, stiffness, and use of painkillers when used for 15 weeks, but benefits were seen and as little as three weeks from beginning using it.

           e. Magnesium has been shown to reduce the death of cartilage cells, which slows the progression of osteoarthritis. Magnesium relieves nerve pain and helps muscles to relax which helps people who suffer from joint pain.

3. Exercise

Non-weight-bearing exercises are the best choices for people suffering from osteoarthritis these types of exercises include swimming, cross trainers, bike riding, and aqua aerobics. The health benefits of exercise for arthritis include strengthening of The joints, improve joint mobility he, lubricates the joints, improve the function and biomechanics of the joints, which can slow down where in tear.

4. Use of ice and heat

When I refer to the use of ice or heat, I don't mean applying topical creams they give you the sensation of hot and cold. I am talking about using actual ice and actual heat. Heat warms the joints and brings blood flow to the areas. Good sources of heat include hot tubs, hot water bottles, Jacuzzis, and paraffin wax. Heat is best used for chronic pain.

But for an acute flare-up of arthritic pain, ice is your best bet. Don't put ice directly on the skin, as you can get ice burns. Ice helps to reduce inflammation in the area by constricting blood vessels as well as numbing the nerves which would decrease the pain signals going to the brain.

5. Weight loss

Weight loss isn't only about losing body weight, it's also about reducing the amount of weight on your joints by using things such as walking sticks and crutches. By losing weight, you take pressure and stress off of your joints. This will slow down the wear-and-tear if it has already begun. And by weighing less, you will have more mobility. The supporting muscles and ligaments of your joints will also have less stress on them and therefore will be less likely to ache so much.