Using hot & cold therapy, losing weight may help alleviate pain amongst those who suffer from arthritis

Related By Dr. Maninder Shah Singh

Some treatments, in addition to medication , may help alleviate pain that people suffer due to arthritis .

Arthritis is an amalgamation of painful and degenerative conditions marked by inflammation and wear and tear in the joints, causing stiffness and pain. Osteoarthritis, the most common type, is caused by wear and tear over the years and gets worse with age. Rheumatoid arthritis, the other type, is caused by the immune system attacking the joints as if they were foreign tissues and thereby damaging the cartilage. As a result, rheumatoid arthritis is classified as an autoimmune disease. Doctors traditionally treat arthritis with anti-inflammatory and pain relief medications, some of which may have side effects. However, it is important to note that some other treatments may also help alleviate pain and get you going in combination with medicines.

USE HOT AND COLD THERAPY
Simple hot and cold treatments can make a lot of difference to arthritis pain. Long, warm showers or baths, especially in the morning, help ease stiffness in joints. Use of an electric blanket or moist heating pad at night can help keep joints supple. Cold treatments are best for relieving inflammatory joint pain and swelling. Try wrapping a gel ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and apply it to painful joints for quick relief.

LOSE WEIGHT
Being more than your right amount of weight can make a big impact on the amount of arthritis pain. Extra weight puts more pressure on your joints, especially your knees, hips and feet. Reducing the stress on your joints by losing weight will improve your mobility, decrease pain and prevent future damage to your joints. DO NOT SHY AWAY FROM TAKING APPROPRIATE MEDICATION The majority of the inflammatory joint arthritic conditions can be managed well with appropriate medication when started early. This can prevent long-term damage to the joint allowing you to lead a healthy and normal life. Do take the advice of your doctor.

MEDITATION AND REDUCTION OF STRESS CAN HELP
Meditation and relaxation techniques may help reduce pain due to arthritis by reducing stress or enabling you to cope with it better. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA, studies have found that the practice of mindfulness meditation is helpful for some people with painful joints. Researchers also found that those with depression and arthritis benefited the most from meditation. When stress is reduced, inflammation and thus swelling and pain drop.

ADD TURMERIC AND RIGHT FATTY ACIDS TO FOOD
Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin that may help to reduce arthritis pain. The anti-inflammatory properties in turmeric, according to the NIH, reduces inflammation in joints. Omega-3 fatty acids in diet boosts chances of optimum health and help relieve pain due to arthritis. Fish with your doctor before taking any supplements to be sure they are right for you.

COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES
Other therapies such as yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy, hydrotherapy (which involves doing exercises in a pool) can all help maintain your flexibility and reduce pain.

The writer is Senior Consultant of Orthopaedics at Indian Spinal Injuries Center (ISIC), New Delhi.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of www.economictimes.com .)

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