Arthritis is one of the leading causes of back and neck pain, so it’s a condition we see often here at Midwest Sports and Interventional Spine.
Our esteemed doctor, board-certified anesthesiology and interventional pain management specialist Cyril Philip, MD, understands that patients with arthritis just want to get back to living their lives, without a lot of downtime, habit-forming drugs, or complicated surgery.
One of the best ways to accomplish that goal is a combination of lifestyle changes and minimally invasive treatments in our Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, office. We believe in making life easier for our patients with arthritis, from personalized lifestyle advice to customized minimally invasive treatment plans.
For our October blog, we’re talking about five things that you can do to better manage your arthritis pain.
1. Stay active
We get it: when your joints feel stiff, sore, and painful, you probably just don’t feel like getting out and moving too much. But, it’s actually one of the best things you can do to ease pain. You don’t have to work yourself to exhaustion, either: there are plenty of exercises that can take it easy on your joints, like swimming, yoga, stretching, and walking.
Regular exercise keeps the muscles strong so they can support your joints. It can help prevent bone loss and also helps improve lubrication within your joints, too. All of these things combine to help ease your pain.
2. Restore your body through sleep
Nighttime is prime repair time for your body, but as many as 8 in 10 people with arthritis have sleep issues. Does the sleep problem happen because of the pain, or does the pain cause the sleep problem? The answer is probably a bit of both.
The structures that control pain in your body (the central nervous system) may not function properly in people with arthritis pain, and this results in poor sleep. Also, too little sleep may trigger a rise in inflammation, which of course sets off arthritis pain.
Setting a sleep schedule and sticking to it can help. Keep a sleep diary to learn about your potential poor sleep triggers. And, avoid naps if possible, as they can knock you off schedule.
3. Eat a balanced diet
A balanced diet is good for your whole body, not just your joints. It can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and other serious conditions. But, for people with arthritis, it’s especially important.
Certain foods, like those containing processed sugars and saturated fats, are shown to increase inflammation in the body, which can significantly worsen your arthritis pain. A healthy balanced diet includes veggies, fruits, and protein sources like fish, beans, and nuts. Eating this way can also help you drop extra weight, which eases pressure on your joints.
4. Quit smoking
You already know that smoking is terrible for your lungs, but did you know it can cause immune system problems too? Basically, smoking can prevent your body from trying to repair arthritis damage. And, it may even cause joint nodules in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Studies also show that smokers with osteoarthritis experience twice the amount of cartilage loss as nonsmokers, leading to more pain and complications.
5. Optimize your home
Sometimes, a few small changes in the house can make it easier for you to navigate and function when your pain is acting up. For example, keep your walking pathways clear within your home, and make sure there’s no risk of slipping by securing rugs to the floor.
Some people with arthritis experience pain because they’re doing things that they probably shouldn’t. So, if you have neck or back pain, avoid extreme reaches, bends, and twists that can aggravate your spine. Dr. Philip may recommend bracing or using assistive objects, like a grabber, to help you avoid spine aggravation and pain.
At Midwest Sports and Interventional Spine, we offer comprehensive arthritis care. Alongside personalized lifestyle support, you can count on us for minimally invasive pain relief procedures like viscosupplementation, joint injections, and radiofrequency ablation.
We’re here to help you win the fight against arthritis pain. Call our office or contact us online today.