About 15 per cent of the Indian population, i.e. over 180 million people are affected by arthritis. Joint pain, swelling, stiffness, physical weakness, trouble sleeping and exhaustion from arthritis can impact general wellbeing of a person. While in the initial stages of arthritis, medications and lifestyle changes are usually suggested. Chronic arthritis can cause debilitating pain and severely restrict an individual’s movements or even cripple them. In such cases, a joint replacement may be the last resort. Hence, for arthritis patients living an active lifestyle and maintaining optimum weight is crucial to the effective management of the debilitating pain.
According to Dr Milind Patil, Senior Joint Replacement Surgeon and MD, Revival Bone and Joint Clinic, Thane: “In this crucial time, staying physically active can go a long way in strengthening the muscles around the joint, thereby keeping joint pain at bay. A bad posture can stress on the joints. So it is best to keep your weight in control. Exercise everyday to stay in shape, and active too. Add vitamin and mineral-rich diet like spinach, cherries, orange, grapes, walnuts, soybean, ginger, to your food palette. Drink at least 8 glass of water daily to keep your joints well-lubricated and reduce inflammation.”
Here are a few tips and tricks for joint pain management at home:
Watch your posture
With most people working from home, it is essential to take frequent breaks at work for stretching and readjusting the posture. Sitting in the same posture for an extended period can interrupt the blood flow to the joints, especially the knee, causing pain and stiffness. Taking small breaks to stretch can help improve blood circulation to the knee and aid in better mobility.
But, diet is important too.
Also Read: Ayurvedic Treatment for Arthritis
Make exercise your best friend
Indulging in physical activity aids in pain relief. Exercise strengthens the muscles around the joint. This, in turn, helps relieve pain and improves joint movement. Take a frequent walk inside your home every 2 hours, indulge in a yoga or join virtual Zumba/aerobics classes to keep your body active. High impact exercises like repetitive stair running, deep squatting or lunging should be avoided by arthritis patients. Yoga asanas like Butterfly Pose, Trikonasana, Marjariasana, and cycling movement helps in keeping joints in motion. Use ice/heat packs to soothe your swollen, inflamed joints.
Manage your weight
Being overweight is one of the significant risk factors for knee pain. Our joints can carry only a specific weight. More than the desired wieight, an ounce of extra kilos can actually put four times the pressure on the joints, especially knees. Studies have shown that losing just 10% of your body weight can ease your arthritis pain by 50%. Therefore, include weight loss exercises in your routine.
If working into the night, binge-watching or sleeping for 4 hours sounds familiar to you, then be wary that less sleep might be the reason for those joint aches. When a person sleeps, his or her inflammation levels go down, allowing the body an opportunity to heal. Therefore, 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep at one go is essential to keep your joints and muscles healthy.
A healthy diet is key to a healthy body
There is nothing that heals the joints, as Vitamin D does. Intake of fluids is beneficial to keep the body active. Even mild dehydration can make a human body more sensitive to pain. Hence drinking fluids is crucial. It is also recommended to stay clear from smoking, consumption of processed junk food and aerated drinks as they can make your bones hollow, putting you at an increased risk of fractures. Alcohol consumption, too, should be reduced as it intensifies inflammation.
Consult your orthopedician
Since OPDs have re-opened for consultations, it is advisable to consult an orthopaedician in case of prolonged joint pain for timely diagnosis and treatment. If hesitant to visit the hospital, you can also check and avail e-consultation facility. Remember, if arthritis is treated in the early stages, progression can be delayed through conservative treatments.
With inputs from Dr Milind Patil, Senior Joint Replacement Surgeon and MD, Revival Bone and Joint Clinic, Thane (Maharashtra)
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