How to Ease Arthritis Pain

You may know it as a stiffness in your fingers or an ache in your knees, but it takes many forms. It encompasses more than 100 diseases and conditions that affect the joints and surrounding tissues, typically causing pain, swelling, and tenderness. The condition progresses and can become debilitating as cartilage that protects the ends of the bones gradually wears away. But exercise and dietary changes can significantly help alleviate discomfort. Lose Weight This is the first step toward easing arthritis pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Being overweight is directly linked to osteoarthritis of the knee, which is the most common form of the disease. The CDC says that losing about 11 pounds can cut a woman’s risk of knee osteoarthritis by half. Losing weight can also reduce stress on weight-bearing joints. In fact, each one-pound increase in weight translates to a two- to three-pound increase in the overall force on the knees. Get Moving Low-impact exercises such as cycling and swimming 30 minutes a day are great for arthritis patients. Walking, water aerobics, and t’ai chi are other good options. Staying active can keep joints from stiffening and help manage arthritis pain. And stronger muscles keep joints from rubbing against each another. Eat Healthy Fats The Arthritis Foundation says diet is increasingly seen as an antidote to arthritis pain. Omega-3 fatty acids appear to be particularly beneficial. Abundant in cold-water fish such as salmon and sardines, omega 3s are also available in supplement form. The body quickly converts them to anti-inflammatory compounds. Olive oil also combats inflammation.