For many people, especially the elderly, arthritis is a debilitating illness. Arthritis causes increased inflammation around the joints that can lead to immobility and pain.
While there are conventional medical treatments that are available for people with arthritis, many wonder what can be done along with medication to help improve mobility with their arthritis. In fact, there are many natural methods to help manage pain and improve mobility.
Here are five different alternative therapies and treatments that can help you manage your daily arthritis symptoms and mobility issues.
Web M.D. recommends hydrotherapy as a form of exercise for those with arthritis. Hydrotherapy is similar to exercise in a pool, however, the pool tends to be warmer than a traditional swimming pool. With hydrotherapy, participants can get all of the benefits of regular exercise without any of the impact on joints.
This may be especially beneficial to those with arthritis because the joints are particularly affected. Having an option for exercise that has zero impact on the joints can increase mobility as well as range of motion. Many times hydrotherapy is considered a form of physical therapy and may be covered by insurance.
Range of Motion Exercises
Many sufferers of arthritis keep the affected joints in a tightened position to alleviate pain. Unfortunately, this has the unintended side effect of increasing pain because it shortens and tightens the ligaments and muscles around the affected joint. This means that instead of decreasing pain over the long-term, keeping the joints in a tightened position will increase pain.
The Cleveland Clinic recommends all arthritis sufferers participate in range of motion exercises. The range of motion exercises typically include stretching and extending the joints to their full ability. Some range of motion programs may include yoga or tai chi.
Because arthritis causes pain and immobility many sufferers of arthritis have excess weight. The excess weight increases pressure and damage on the joints. The increased pressure and damage on the joints increases pain which causes decreased mobility. It becomes a never ending cycle of increased pain and decreased mobility.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that if you have arthritis, you maintain a healthy body weight. If you’re currently overweight and have a difficult time moving, a healthy body weight can be maintained through proper diet.
A meeting with a dietitian can help you start a healthy diet if you are not sure where to begin. The dietitian or nutritionist may also have ideas on foods that can help decrease inflammation in the body and reduce the pain from your arthritis.
Hot and Cold Therapy
One of the benefits of hot and cold therapy is that it can be done at home. The second benefit to hot and cold therapy is that it is very inexpensive. Heating pads and ice packs are easy to have on hand and don’t cost a lot of money. Healthline suggests that arthritis sufferers try alternating hot and cold therapy to affected joints to decrease pain.
You may find that some days cold therapy works the best on your arthritic joints while other days a heating pad may be better. Having both on hand to use is going to be the best way to ensure that this therapy is effective at increasing your mobility and decreasing your pain.
The arthritis foundation notes that one of the most beneficial treatments for mobility in arthritis patients is massage. Massage can help increase range of motion simply by relieving tension on stiff muscles and ligaments that surround the arthritic joints.
The arthritis foundation says that the best types of massage for people with arthritis are either deep tissue massage or Swedish massage. If you are having a high amount of pain, deep tissue massage may be difficult to tolerate because of how deep into the muscle massage therapist will go. Either way, massage therapy is an easily accessible treatment to help increase your range of motion when you have arthritis.
While arthritis will not go away no matter how well you take care of your body, you can manage your symptoms and stop the progression of the disease. If you combine medication with these holistic approaches to treatment, you are sure to have a happier and pain-free life.