Our lifestyle affects every aspect of our lives, especially our health. Arthritis is just one of the many conditions affected by what we eat, how often we exercise, and how we live our lives in general. Hence, lifestyle is the main factor that can affect the level of arthritis pain that you experience regularly.
If you want to reduce your arthritis pain and ultimately achieve a better quality of life, here are certain lifestyle changes that you should start making today.
You’ve probably heard this piece of advice a thousand times before, particularly in the doctor’s office. But there is no way to go around it; your diet affects almost every other aspect of your health, including your arthritis.
Diets for Arthritis
With a healthy and balanced diet, you will be better able to manage inflammation and the pain that comes with it. Eat just enough calories to fuel your body, and fill your diet with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats to get the adequate amount of nutrients you need each day. Stay away from foods high in calories, sugar, salt, and saturated fats. If your doctor recommends it, you can also add dietary supplements to your diet. For instance, a support supplement can help reduce your uric acid levels and keep gout flare-ups at bay.
If you are not sure about how much and what foods to eat, consult with a licensed dietitian who can tell you exactly how many calories you need and what foods are best for your meals.
Physical activities – Arthritis
Exercise may be the last thing on your mind when you are experiencing pain, but it can do more harm than good to maintain a sedentary lifestyle. More than that, a lack of exercise can lead to weight gain, which can make your pain even worse with the added pressure on your bones and joints.
If you are carrying extra pounds, gradually start adding more physical activity to your routine. Whether it’s walking or going a few minutes on the stationary bike, every bit of exercise helps. Keep at it until you establish a routine that works best for your pain levels. Paired with a balanced diet, you’ll soon see the extra weight shedding off and your pain becoming much easier to manage.
If you have trouble losing weight, it may be necessary to go to a professional for help. A personal trainer who is experienced working with people with arthritis can be a great place to start, or perhaps a physical therapist if necessary.
Control Drinking and smoking
Not only can drinking excessively exacerbate your pain, but it can also make you gain weight which, in turn, can make the pain worse. Although it may soothe arthritis pain for a while, the effect is only temporary, and you’ll end up with even more pain aside from a hangover.
The best way to avoid this is to moderate your drinking. A glass or two once in a while won’t hurt, but binge drinking or daily drinking will-quite literally. Seek help from a doctor if you have trouble kicking your habit. But if you can manage the drinking on your own, start by not keeping alcohol in the house and limiting your drinks to one or two every time you drink.
Even the simple act of picking something up from the floor can be painful for someone who has arthritis. If this is a daily battle for you, use adaptive equipment, such as reachers and dressing aids to make daily activities easier, less stressful, and pain-free.
Smoking does nothing good for your body, especially if you suffer from any chronic pain. Smoking is also a risk factor for developing rheumatoid arthritis and a multitude of other health conditions such as lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). So as early as now, kick your smoking habit to the curb and watch as your symptoms improve.
Ask your doctor about smoking cessation treatments that you can consider if you have trouble quitting on your own. A few things that can help you quit smoking include nicotine patches, nicotine gum, lozenges, and even therapy.
Dealing with arthritis pain is rarely a walk in the park, especially for people with other conditions that cause them chronic pain. Luckily, these lifestyle modifications can not only help reduce your pain but also improve your overall health. Take the necessary steps to adjust your routine and habits to live a comfortable and pain-free life.