Rule one: lose weight
“Losing weight is crucial,” says Jan.
“Exercise, weight loss and wearing the right shoes can keep a patient off drugs and injections and prevent surgeryA recent article in Arthritis Today explains, ''Research shows losing as little as 11 pounds may improve joint health and cut the risk of osteoarthritis of the knee by 50 per cent.'
Rule two: exercise
''There's been much more emphasis on movement and muscle building to alleviate the effects ofarthritis in the last 40 years,' says Jan.
“Building up muscle strength improves the function of the joint and retrains it in balance awareness.”
“Exercise slows down the effect of deterioration in joints due to ageing. Try low impact exercises such as cycling or rowing exercises. Exercising in water is an excellent solution as your bouyancy takes stress and weight off your joints.'
In fact, hydrotherapy has become a common form of treatment for arthritis.
'The warm water in a hydrotherapy pool soothes muscles and enables people to do exercise they couldn't do on dry land.'
Rule 3: Get moving
If exercising in a gym isn’t your thing then try dancing (especially if it involves moving your arms and hands) t'ai chi, yoga or even knitting … any activity that helps with dexterity, balance, firms up muscles, eases stress, and keeps the body supple.
To supplement or not to supplement...
Many people with osteoarthritis, or those who have a few early twinges, try supplements, such as glucosamine with chondoitrin, green lipped mussel, fish oils, and rosehip. Evidence is mixed - with glucosamine some trials say it is helpful, and others claim it is not - while people who take them also report different results.
Jan admits, 'There is evidence that such as rosehip and omega-3 fish oils may help pain, and glucosamine might slow down progress of osteoarthritis.'
Replacing joints may be a final option if arthritis is disabling , but according to Jan, 'Alongside someone not being able to function normally, especially in activities of daily living such as washing, dressing and being able to move around, here has to be X-ray evidence of severe joint degenration to justify a joint replacement.. Whenever a joint still has life in it, we try to keep it going.'
Suggestions for easing the pain of arthritis have been passed down from generation to generation.
5 ways to prevent osteoarthritis
Review how you use your body - what position do you spend your day in - are you sitting at a computer? How do you sleep at night? The Alexander Technique or yoga can be great for gaining awareness about where you are putting strain on your body and changing your existing habits.
Wear shoes that absorb shock, such as trainers or running shoes, to minimise impact on weight bearing joints such as hips, knees and ankles. If you wear high heels you are putting enormous strain on your hips and knees.
4. Core stability
Pilates can help strengthen muscles in the tummy and buttocks which in turn protects the lower body.
5. Weight control
Being overweight puts huge strain on all your joints, but especially your hips, knees, ankles and feet.
6. Exercise regularly
Exercise is essential for overall mental and physical health. It will help strengthen muscles around joints.
Alternative remedies for osteoarthritis pain
Suggestions for easing the pain of arthritis have been passed down from generation to generation. Evidence tends to be anecdotal, but you may want to give some of the following a try:
- Some acidic foods appear to make symptoms worse but this varies according to individuals - red meat, tomatoes, potatoes, citrus fruit, red wine, aubergines and strawberries have been cited.
- Good news foods cited are turmeric, ginger (considered warming in Chinese medicine), olives, green tea and grapes.
- Cider vinegar with (or without) a teaspoonful of honey in warm water each morning is said to be very helpful for easing symptoms.
- Soaking in a hot bath is soothing, but even better with Epsom salts, which may release toxins from the body through the skin.
- Copper or magnet bracelets have a positive effect on some people, but others say they do nothing.
How to lose weight well - AXA Health
Fitting change into your lifestyle - AXA Health
Exercises to improve balanceand prevent falls - AXA Health