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9 Secrets Only People Living With Arthritis Know

Posted by Eileen Pelletier on February 12, 2016. 0 Comments

Tried-and-true hacks from people who’ve dealt with the aches and pains of arthritis.

What’s the best remedy for easing arthritis aches and pain? We’ve done some digging and came up with 9 tried-and-true hacks from peers and practitioners who’ve dealt with arthritis discomfort — and worse — day in and day out. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Make Peace With Movement
The first thing to know is that activity is your friend, says Patricia Katz, PhD, professor of medicine and rheumatology at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. And that advice holds for people who have rheumatoid arthritis as well as osteoarthritis, she says.

Here’s some good news: Adding activity to your daily life is likely to lead to other health benefits, including weight loss (which can ease arthritis pain by lessening pressure on your joints), and improved heart health, mood, and day-to-day functioning. “Sitting less is a key message,” says Katz. Just standing up and stretching two or three times an hour can help.

2. Consider Alternative Treatments
When you’re dealing with arthritis pain, it’s important to maintain the body, mind, and spirit connection, advises RA patient Anna Marie Meyer, from Happy Valley, Oregon. A volunteer patient advocate for the arthritis support community CreakyJoints, Meyer recommends trying yoga, meditation, massage, or acupuncture to help get relief.

3. Sleep Is Very Important
Changing your sleep position can be especially helpful if you have hip or knee arthritis, or if you’ve had one of those joints replaced, says Robin Mayhall, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who's had RA since she was 21. Sleep on your side and slip a small pillow or folded blanket between your knees, she suggests.

4. Raise Your Seat
If it’s difficult for you to stand up from your favorite couch or armchair, use a pillow, an extra couch cushion, or a folded blanket or towel to raise the seat slightly, Mayhall recommends.

5. Use These Quick Tricks for Less Pain
Adopting these simple everyday habits can reduce the stress on your smaller joints, says Mayhall. For example, push doors open with your arm or shoulder rather than your hand or fingers.

Also, hold your coffee mug in two hands rather than putting your fingers through the handle — and never lift a heavy jug of milk or juice with the handle if you can avoid it.

6. Ask Your Doc About Your Pain Med Doses
Sometimes you have a day with a little extra pain when a small dose of pain reliever might help. Ask your doctor for the largest safe dose of your favorite over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Aleve (naproxen), for occasional special needs. But talk to your doctor before taking any OTC meds — she or he may recommend a higher dose than what's on the label. And always take Aleve or Advil (ibuprofen) with food, Mayhall suggests.

7. Try These Clever Tricks With Ice
When you need to ice a joint to relieve pain and swelling, people living with arthritis offer these suggestions:
Buy a couple of bags of frozen peas or corn and use them as ice packs. They mold perfectly around your knee or shoulder. Refreeze as often as necessary — but make sure to label them so you don’t accidentally serve them for dinner!
Add one part rubbing alcohol to three parts water in a heavy-duty Ziploc plastic bag, close securely, and freeze. The alcohol will keep the mix from freezing completely so it will be a little mushy to mold around the joint.

8. Supplement With Curcumin
Curcumin, the active ingredient that gives the spice turmeric it's yellow pigment, has been studied for its pain relieving effects on osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis and on other inflammatory conditions, says Cheryl Myers, a dietary supplements educator in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Turmeric or curcumin may help ease some joint pain, however it’s important to talk to your doctor before adding supplements to your treatment regimen.

9. Try Going Meat-Free
A vegetarian diet can reduce rheumatoid arthritis flare activity in some people, says the Arthritis Foundation. But there aren't many studies about diets and RA for humans. Thinking about going meat-free to help with arthritis symptoms? Try going without meat just one day of the week, and then build up from there. This doesn't work for everyone, but a little trial and error doesn't hurt! (Everyday

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