5 Natural Ways to Cope With Arthritis Pain

As the seasons change, you might notice increased flare-ups of your arthritis symptoms.

Arthritis pain can really put a cramp in your style. With autumn on its way, you might notice flare-ups in your arthritis symptoms. You may also be living with chronic arthritis pain that never really goes away. At her Smithfield, North Carolina, office, Dr. Shubi Shahida supports patients with arthritis. In addition to medical treatments, she recommends these natural strategies for coping with your arthritis pain.

1. Dietary adjustments and supplements

Adding new elements to your diet might relieve your arthritis symptoms.

Foods and supplements to try include:

Vitamin D levels in rheumatoid arthritis sufferers can be lower than normal, and some studies have shown that vitamin D supplements may be helpful

2. Exercise and physical therapy

Every added pound of body weight adds to the strain on your joints, especially your knees and hips. Losing weight will ease pressure at your joints, potentially reducing your arthritis symptoms of pain or stiffness. It's important for arthritis patients to avoid overdoing it, though. High-impact exercise can worsen your joint health.

Physical therapy offers support while you strengthen your muscles and extend your range of motion. Targeted exercises aim to improve your posture and reduce pain. Adopting a supported exercise program can also improve your general mood, making you less vulnerable to pain.

3. Heat or cold therapy

When you're experiencing pain flare-ups, try applying heat or cold to help you cope.

Heat works best for osteoarthritis pain, increasing the flow of blood to the afflicted area of your body. You can use a heating pad, warm compress, or heat patch, or try a warm bath.

Cold therapy, in the form of a cold pack or ice pack, reduces your sensation of pain by stimulating your nerves. Applying cold will also cause your blood vessels to constrict, reducing swelling and inflammation. Cold therapy works particularly well for injuries or strains.

4. Massage

Regular massage leaves your muscles relaxed and your arthritis pain reduced. When you get a massage, you produce less of the stress hormone cortisol, so you won't tense back up right away. You can massage painful areas yourself, or make an appointment to receive a massage from a professional. Moderate-pressure massage has been shown to be more effective for reducing arthritis pain than light-pressure massage.

5. Meditation

Meditation, the practice of mindfulness and focus, can do a lot to lower your pain levels. Meditation reduces your stress levels and inflammation, relaxing your muscles and leaving you calm and centered. Meditating for a short amount of time regularly lessens your brain's response to pain. Try meditating for 20 minutes once a day, or use short periods of meditation and deep breathing to handle moments when your pain becomes acute. Meditation can also improve your mood and general sense of hopefulness, so that you're recharged and ready to keep on coping with arthritis.

If you're dealing with arthritis pain and need additional support, contact Dr. Shahida today. Her internal medicine practice helps you with diagnosis, including for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Then, Dr. Shahida works with you to develop a unique treatment plan for your arthritis. To schedule your initial appointment, call our office, or book online.

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