Arthritis is a debilitating condition that forces many people to restrict their activities and curtail their normal life. However, with some small efforts and a healthy lifestyle, people with arthritis can lead a normal life.
With the festive season underway, there is an increase in the number of patients, especially women, seeking remedies for arthritic pain so that they can carry on with the preparation and activities for special occasion, say doctors at Columbia Asia Hospitals, Ghaziabad.
If you are an arthritic patient who is bemoaning your reduced agility and flexibility and the fact that you are unable to celebrate festivals as good as you did ten years back, you need to know that by adopting healthy lifestyle and making some corrective interventions you can still make the most of the festive season.
Arthritis is a common degenerative condition of the joints primarily affecting the old age group. Osteoarthritis is the age-related wear and tear of the joints, which is exacerbated by excessive weight and lack of physical exercise. On the other hand, Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis caused due to faulty immune system. The disease tends to affect the wrists, small joints of the hand, including knuckles and the middle joints of the fingers.
“Arthritic patients suffer from two consequences of the condition – pain in the joints and reduced mobility and restricted movement. This makes it difficult for them to perform their routine activities including walking, working in the kitchen, performing the other household chores. While arthritis is an irreversible condition and you cannot get back your young knees, an arthritis-friendly lifestyle can help you maximize your ability and lead a normal life,” said Dr. Rajesh Kr. Verma Consultant – Orthopedics, Columbia Asia Hospital Ghaziabad
A modified lifestyle includes strict weight control, healthy diet, daily exercise and interventions to reduce pain such as heat therapy and knee supports.
“People with arthritis need to follow a strict daily regimen to keep their condition under control and minimize pain and discomfort. This regimen includes a religious devotion to daily exercise, use of physiotherapy and heat therapy to keep the joints mobile and check inflammation as well as using supporting devices such as knee braces and orthotic shoes to ensure comfort. At the same time, it is important to understand that unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking tend to have a further negative effect on arthritic conditions. Most important is to avoid weight gain as excessive body weight puts greater pressure on the knees and the feet and accelerates damage,” said Dr.Verma.
As we celebrate festivals this month and mark a turn to winters, it is all the more important to adopt arthritis management mechanisms to allow you to participate in festive activities and minimize the impact of weather change on your joints.
Arthritis friendly lifestyle:
Exercise: Keeping your joints and muscles active is the most important thing to do to prevent further degeneration of your damaged joints. Exercising helps increase blood circulation and enables warm blood reach all peripheral areas of the body including joints. Regular exercise also helps keep the muscles strong and healthy which is key to holding the arthritic joints. Even if you are busy preparing for the festivities, do not miss your daily walk or physiotherapy session.
Physiotherapy: Physiotherapy helps keep muscles and leg nerves strong and joints flexible. As winter sets in joint stiffness tends to increase, physiotherapy ensures greater mobility and lesser pain.
Heat therapy: Using hot water or a heated cloth to soothe the arthritic joint helps relieve pain and reduce inflammation. It is a useful intervention to help minimize pain and keep you active.
Knee braces: Knee braces are joint supporting devices that help provide stability and comfort to aching joints. Your orthopedic specialist will recommend good knee supporting braces that can be worn to provide more support and stability to the joint. In case the pain is intense, knee braces also help in giving relief.
Diet: A deficiency of vitamins can manifest itself in the form of joint pain, even inflammation. Oranges, cabbage, carrots, spinach, tomatoes are a must. Spend time under the sun to allow production of vitamin D.
Water: We often underestimate the importance of water in maintaining good health. But sufficient water intake is crucial to maintain the goodness of all our body arts including our joints. Our cartilage that cushions our joints needs enough hydration to remain smooth and perform its desired function.
Orthotic shoes & devices: Orthotic shoes are specially designed footwear for people with muscular or bone related conditions. They help redistributing weight evenly and relieving pressure on sensitive areas of the feet. Orthotic shoes help by reducing foot and lower leg pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis by providing much needed cushioning. In fact, the right kind of device can also help slow damage the caused by osteoarthritis. Talk to your specialist about the right orthotic wear for you.