The 10 Best Foods To Eat If You Have Arthritis
If you have arthritis, you know just how devastating this condition can be.
Arthritis is a term for a class of diseases that cause pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. It can affect people of all ages, genders and ethnic backgrounds.
There are many different types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is one type, which develops in joints with overuse. Another type is rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks your joints (
Fortunately, there are many foods that can ease inflammation and may help relieve some of the joint pain associated with arthritis.
In fact, one survey found that 24% of those with rheumatoid arthritis reported that their diet had an impact on the severity of their symptoms (
This article will look at 10 of the best foods to eat if you have arthritis.
Evening Primrose Oil Supplements
Some plant oils may reduce pain and stiffness associated with RA. Evening primrose oil contains an essential fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid that may provide some relief.
A 2016 study found that taking evening primrose oil and fish oil may reduce inflammation and disease activity.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health , however, more research is needed on the effectiveness of primrose oil.
Again, check with your doctor before taking evening primrose oil, as it may interact with some medications. Potential side effects include headache and an upset stomach.
Thunder god vine grows in China and Taiwan and is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Research has indicated that it may be effective for treating RA symptoms.
According to a 2015 study , thunder god vine was comparable to the standard RA drug methotrexate in relieving symptoms. The study found that taking both was even more effective.
A 2018 research review also suggested that thunder god vine supplements may help reduce inflammation. Still, more research is needed on long-term effects and safety.
Talk to your doctor and assess the benefits before trying thunder god vine, as it may have some serious side effects. These can include reduced bone mineral content, infertility, rashes, and hair loss.
Thunder god vine can also be poisonous if it isnt prepared correctly.
Tai Chi Instead Of Yoga
Alternative exercises like yoga are known to build strength and flexibility. But tai chi may be a better bet for alleviating pain from back arthritis.
Tai chi originated as a fighting technique, but has transformed into gentle, continuously moving stretches. Many poses work from the waist, which enhances spinal stretching.
Unlike yoga, tai chi puts little stress on the joints and helps improve balance. If youre new to tai chi, consider signing up for a class. The exercises can also be modified for severe arthritis back pain.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Hands
Early symptoms include:
- Dull or burning joint pain, appearing hours or a day after increased use of your hands.
- Morning pain and stiffness in your hand.
- Swollen joints in your hand.
If you’ve had arthritis in your hand for some time:
- Symptoms are present more often.
- Pain may change from dull ache to sharp pain.
- Pain may wake you up at night.
- Pain may cause you to change the way you use your hand.
- Tissue surrounding your affected joint may become red and tender to the touch.
- Youll feel grating, grinding, cracking or clicking when bending your fingers.
- Your fingers cant fully open and close.
- Small bony nodules form on the middle joint of your fingers or at the top joints of your fingers .
- Your finger joints become large and deformed and abnormally bent, leaving your hands weak and less able to accomplish everyday tasks.
What Other Risk Factors May Increase Your Likelihood Of Experiencing Ra
* Gender: Women are much more likely to suffer from this autoimmune disorder.* Weight: Overweight individuals are more prone to developing RA.* Smoking: If you smoke, you are more likely to develop RA, and if you develop it, your symptoms may be more pronounced than those who do not smoke.* Age: RA is more likely to hit you in middle age * Environment: Certain environmental exposures have been found to elevate your risk of RA, including exposure to asbestos and silica.
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Arthritis Treatment Options Explained
Arthritis medication can do a lot to keep joint pain in check, but there are many more ways to manage your condition.
Once youve been diagnosed with arthritis, its time to determine the best way of treating it. There are many different options you and your doctor just have to figure out what works best for you and your particular symptoms. And sometimes, a combination of therapies offers the best relief from the joint pain of arthritis. Read on to find out which ones can work for you.
Physical Therapy For Arthritis Treatment
Physical therapy is often recommended to help ease arthritis pain. It can strengthen the muscles that support your damaged joints, help reduce joint stiffness, and improve your range of motion. Its also a good first non-surgical and non-medicating start to improve mobility, says Keenan.
According to 2014 research in the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews, people with osteoarthritis of the hip can feel less pain and have more physical function after engaging in physical therapy exercises. And by going to sessions, you’ll learn how to properly perform the moves and stretches. You may also see an improvement in your ability to:
- Climb stairs
- Climb in and out of the bathtub
If youre looking for a physical therapist, its important to consult with your doctor first. And to find a specialist in your area, you can also check out the resource finder tool from the Arthritis Foundation and the find a PT tool from the American Physical Therapy Association.
While physical therapy can offer significant benefits for many people with arthritis, its not effective for everyone. If its recommended as part of your treatment, give it a try for at least three to six months. If you dont see any improvement in that time, physical therapy simply may not be useful for your individual case of arthritis.
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The Role Physical Therapy Plays In The Process
Physical therapy is definitely beneficial. Improving range of motion and strength in the knee are helpful, but physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis has a large focus on strengthening the hips, explains Dr. Day.
Weak hips put more pressure on the knees. If your hips are strong, when you get up from a chair or go up and down stairs your knees have less work to do.
Everyone with knee osteoarthritis should consult a physical therapist, according to Dr. Day. Not only will you be taught the right kinds of exercises, a physical therapist also provides valuable instruction about using assistive devices and modifying activities to reduce pain.
Home Remedies For Arthritis But Only One Works
Arthritis is a common disease affecting millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of new cases are identified each year in the United States.
When you are suffering from arthritis, it quickly becomes clear that its not just joints that are affected. RA can also cause severe fatigue, fevers, weight loss, anemia, in addition to causing additional problems throughout the major organs . Sufferers often experience dry mouth, dry eyes, shortness of breath, damaged nerves, malaise, and small skin lumps, just to name a few.
So, how do you get relief? If you would prefer not to take prescription medications nor undergo surgery, there are several natural home remedies that have some reported rates of success in treating symptoms of RA. Want to know whats so great about these methods, in addition to getting some relief from your symptoms? The products used in these natural remedies are very easy to find. The following seven treatments are the most common homeopathic remedies. Bear in mind that response to these remedies will be different for each individual as the disease presents and progresses differently in each individual. Make sure to discuss with your doctor any home remedies that you are considering as they may interact with your body and prescription medications in ways that you did not realize.
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Foods To Avoid If You Have Arthritis
Weve covered the positive, now the difficult part the foods that maybe you should limit if inflammation is a concern to you.
Yes, whilst some foods can help keep inflammation in check, others have been found to trigger it.
Certain food groups are thought to have inflammatory properties.
For example, refined carbohydrates , chips and other fried foods, fatty red meat, and high sugar food and drink.
Limiting these foods in your diet can have wide wellness benefits, including for some, improvements in joint health and the symptoms of arthritis.
By limiting certain foods in your diet, some people experience improvements in their arthritis symptoms, but unfortunately theres no definitive advice as experience will vary from person-to person, says Emily.
Theres also a lot of misinformation out there regarding diets for arthritis, which people should be wary of.
“For example, cutting out food groups for extended periods of time without knowing if they affect you personally as some advice suggests could mean your body runs short of important nutrients.
Instead, Emily suggests keeping a food diary as the best way to identify if a food intolerance is exacerbating inflammation and, as a result, increasing joint pain caused by arthritis.
Under the advice and guidance of your doctor or dietitian, you could leave out a certain food from your diet for a period of time probably a month minimum and note any changes in your arthritis symptoms, she suggests.
Effects On Your Daily Life
- See a doctor or other relevant healthcare professional if youre unable to do everyday tasks due to joint or muscle pain.
- If youve lifted something heavy and hurt your back, for example, take some painkillers, apply some heat and try to stay active. If the pain doesnt ease after a couple of weeks or so, see a doctor.
Its important to see a doctor if you get any new symptoms or if you have any trouble with drugs youre taking.
If you have an appointment with a doctor, to help make sure you get the most out of it, you could take a list of questions with you and tick them off as they are discussed.
You could also keep a symptoms diary with details of how youre feeling in between appointments. Some people find that taking a friend or relative with them to an appointment can provide support and ensure that all important points are discussed.
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How Is Arthritis Diagnosed
It’s important to find out if you have arthritis and what type it is because treatments vary for each type. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to help slow or prevent joint damage that can occur during the first few years for several types.
Only a doctor can tell if you have arthritis and what type it is. When you see your doctor for the first time about arthritis, expect at least three things to happen. Your doctor will ask questions about your symptoms examine you and take some tests or X-rays.
You can help your doctor by writing down information about your symptoms before your appointment. Bring your answers when you see your doctor.
Arthritis may limit how far or how easily you can move a joint. Your doctor may move the joint that hurts or ask you to move it. This is to see how far the joint moves through its normal range of motion. Your doctor may also check for swelling, tender points, skin rashes or problems with other parts of your body.
Finally your doctor may conduct some laboratory tests. These may include tests of your blood, muscles, urine or joint fluid. They also may include X-rays or scans of your body. The tests will depend on what type of arthritis your doctor suspects. They help confirm what type of arthritis your doctor suspects based on your medical history and physical exam and help rule out other diseases that cause similar symptoms.
How Is Spinal Arthritis Treated
The treatment for spinal arthritis depends on many factors. They may include your age, level of pain, type and severity of arthritis and personal health goals. Because the joint damage caused by arthritis is irreversible, the treatment usually focuses on managing pain and preventing further damage.
Nonsurgical treatments for spinal arthritis may include:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids to reduce pain and swelling
Other medications targeting specific symptoms or triggers of inflammatory arthritis
Physical therapy to improve back muscle strength and range of motion in the spine
Lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation or stress on your spine: losing weight, quitting smoking, changing your posture, etc.
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These Arthritis Home Remedies May Be Worth A Try As Part Of Your Overall Doctor
While medication is a cornerstone and critical part of managing arthritis, home remedies and lifestyle changes can be important in your arthritis treatment plan too, says Susan Blum, MD, MPH, chronic disease specialist, assistant clinical professor in the department of preventive medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and author of Healing Arthritis: The 3-Step Guide To Conquering Arthritis Naturally.
You need to treat arthritis from a whole body perspective, not simply a medical one, which means incorporating all facets of wellness, including what you do at home, she says. She knows firsthand of what she speaks, noting that she uses home remedies to help her own arthritis and autoimmune disorder. She swears by a daily meditation, green smoothies, gardening, and walking outdoors.
However, its important to note that home remedies should not replace medication. And you need a healthy amount of skepticism when deciding which ones to try and implement, says Don R. Martin, MD, a rheumatologist with Sentara RMH Rheumatology in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Many natural remedies arent backed by science or the research is very limited or weak. And even for therapies that have shown to be effective, supplements and natural therapies are not regulated the same way prescription medications are, so the purity and quality can vary widely, he adds.
What Is Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is sometimes called degenerative joint disease or wear-and-tear arthritis. It can affect any joint in your body. It most often happens in the hands, hips, knees, and spine. It causes the cushion layer between your bones to wear away. This happens slowly and usually gets worse over time.
There are some factors that can increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis, including:
- Being overweight or obese. Excess weight can make arthritis worse in the weight-bearing joints like knees, hips, and spine.
- Having a joint injury. Joints that have been injured, damaged, or had steroid injections are more likely to develop osteoarthritis.
- Repeating movements at work. People who have jobs that require the same movement over and over are at higher risk.
- Being older. Osteoarthritis is more common in older people because they have been using their joints longer.
- Being a female. Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than men, especially after age 50.
If youre having joint pain, tell your family doctor. Treating early can help prevent or reduce lifelong disability. Read More
The most common symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
- Pain or aching in the joint
- Stiffness in the joint, especially after not moving, such as after sleeping or sitting
- Swelling and tenderness in the joint
- A clicking noise when moving the joint
- A decreased range of motion in the joint
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Should I See A Doctor
Its common to have aches and pains in your muscles and joints from time to time. This may especially be true if you take part in unusual or strenuous physical activities.
So, how can you tell the difference between the early signs of arthritis and normal pain and stiffness? And, how do you know when you should see a doctor about your symptoms?
If you have swelling or stiffness that you cant explain and that doesn’t go away in a few days, or if it becomes painful to touch your joints, you should see a doctor. The earlier you get a diagnosis and start the right type of treatment, the better the outcome will be.
Here are some other things to think about that might help you decide whether you need to see a doctor:
Stop Withholding Info From Your Healthcare Provider
It’s tempting not to tell your healthcare provider everything, especially if you’re afraid you’ll have to go through unpleasant testing or have to change the treatment regimen you’re comfortable with.
But in order for your healthcare provider to have the best chance of helping you, he needs to know everything. Talk openly about what makes your condition better or worse, what concerns you have, and what you don’t understand.
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What Outcome Can I Expect If I Have Arthritis In My Hands
There is no cure for arthritis. However, you can usually manage mild to moderate symptoms with a combination of medication and non-medication approaches. Surgery may be an option if other treatments fail or the arthritis in your hands is severe. Your healthcare provider will explain what outcome you can expect for your type and severity of arthritis, your age, other existing medical conditions and other factors.