Arthritis is slowly becoming more prevalent among people of different age groups. In recent times, this condition has been also affecting the younger population, especially among athletes. This inflammatory condition affects the joints leading to excessive pain and stiffness, limiting the daily life of an individual. This condition typically affects the hips, hands, knees, and spine and in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, a common type of arthritis, it even affects the white blood cells damaging the cartilage.
On the occasion of World Arthritis Day 2022, which is marked on October 12, every year, OnlyMyHealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Shaloo Bhasin Gagneja, Senior Consultant – Rheumatology, Manipal Hospitals, Gurugram, to know about the quick fixes for arthritis that can become a hindrance in performing daily activities.
Why should you worry?
It is important to know that arthritis is a progressive condition that is highly affected by lifestyle. If not attended on time, this dangerous condition can even become extremely painful. Although it is more common in older generations, recent cases have emerged in which it has been seen even in youngsters. Furthermore, as deformities take hold, it is known that the later stages of arthritis are irreversible.
How to manage the symptoms of arthritis?
The best way to deal with arthritis is to diagnose it in its initial stages and always be aware of its signs. Lifestyle plays a major role in determining the condition of arthritis. Individuals who have a family history of the disease are recommended to get a yearly routine check, as that individual might be more prone to getting the disease. Long-term treatment works on medicinal support and routine checks. However, a few things need to be kept in mind if a person suffers from this condition, as it can help in managing the severity of this condition. These include:
1. Apply hot or cold compression
When joint pain becomes unbearable, it is best to rest your body and avoid any excess strain on the joints. Apply a cold compress for about 15 minutes to the aching joint to reduce swelling and inflammation. Remember to apply the compress only for 10 to 15 minutes and put a cloth between the compress and the skin to avoid frostbite. Switch the compression to heat compression after a quick break to relax your muscles and stimulate blood flow. Like a cold compress, avoid direct skin contact with a hot compress. Some easy ways to get a warm compress are by taking hot showers or using a damp towel for 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Use exercise to your benefit
Exercise plays a major role in managing arthritis but it is important to remember not to put extra pressure on the joints. There are different types of physical workouts available to strengthen your body. The core rule while choosing your workout with arthritis is to avoid any direct strain on your joints. Keep your body warm before starting your day with some light stretches and movement. Some recommended exercises include light swimming and walking. Avoid exercising when you have severe pain or swelling in joints. Start slow and understand what works for you before increasing the intensity of any workout.
3. Balanced eating habits
It is recommended to have a healthy and well-planned diet for all individuals, but it is important that a person suffering from arthritis is eating a correct and timely diet. As the main symptom of arthritis is inflammation of the joints, start by adding natural anti-inflammatory foods such as fatty fish, fruits like pineapple, mango, papaya, and green leafy veggies, whole grains. One must avoid refined flours, red or white beans, chia or flax seeds, and ginger or turmeric. One must also reduce salt by avoiding precooked food, and it is also recommended to switch sugar with honey.
4. Regular medication
Last but not the least, be regular with your medications as prescribed by your rheumatologist. Timely medication plays a major role in managing arthritis. Each arthritis patient may experience symptoms to different degrees.
It is always recommended to consult the doctor before adding something new to the diet and workout plans. The above-stated tips are helpful to all patients, but it is advised to always pay close attention to how your body is responding and customise things according to your requirements.