Living with joint aches

Everyone seems to know someone with arthritis and that it equates to often debilitating join pain. But did you know arthritis refers to more than 100 medical conditions? Or that it can affect children too?

It may be referred to as one disease, but really the word arthritis is used for numerous medical conditions that affect the musculoskeletal systems (specifically one or more of your joints) causing pain, stiffness and often inflamation. Three of the most common are : osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.

Symptoms vary but some common ones are :

Pain, stiffness and reduced movement, swelling, inflamation and damage to the body’s joint cartilage (the tissue that covers the ends of bones, helping them moving against each other). The pain can affect different parts of the body too : back, feet, neck, shoulders, hips and knees. And while arthritis is manageable, the pain and discomfort can interfere with everyday living, including walking and moving your hands.

Here are some simple steps to help you live well with arthritis :

1. Learn about your Arthritis

Research what to expect from your condition, and chat to your healthcare providers about any pain management medicines and techniques, as well as dealing with stress and changes you could make to your diet, lifestyle and everyday routines to better manage arthritis.

2. Treatment options :

Look into different kinds of treatments that may make a difference to you, medication (for pain relief, to reduce inflammation and swelling), exercise, massage, supplements.

3. Healthy eating and exercise :

The combination of being physically active and eating well-balanced diet is important for your health regardless of your medical conditions. To ensure you stay active, consider trying new types of exercises (perhaps walking, yoga, tai chi or aqua therapy) until you find a physical activity that benefits you and you will enjoy doing regularly.

4. Group Support :

Speakin to others who understand your pain can be a great help. Visit your state or territory arthritis association website to get in touch with a support group near you.

Medicines and Supplements that may help

Your Doctor can prescribe medicines to relieve pain and inflammation. They are also available over the counter (OTC) at you local pharmacy, ask your pharmacist for advice. Changes to diet, and some supplements can complementary therapies such as massage, acupuncture and herbal medicine (although not proven), can be useful in managing arthritis too. Chat to your doctor or healthcare professional about the right treatment for you.

Fish Oils : Omega-3 fats presents in fish oils, are great for general health but may also help reduce inflammation and relieve joint pain and stiffness for those with inflammatory arthritis conditions.

Glucosamine and chondroitin : These supplements can be helpful in relieving pain and preventing the breakdown of cartilage for those with osteoarthritis.

Rosehip Oil : This anti-inflammatory oil may be helpful to temporarily relieve joint pain and stiffness and improve flexibility and mobility for those with osteoarthritis.

Diet : Some arthritis conditions may be helped by avoiding or adding certain foods/supplements to the diet. For inflammatory arthritis, an increase in omega-3 fats (found in oily fish such as sardines, tuna, salmon, and mackerel) can help.

Topical Medications : These medications absorb through your skin, and are available in a variety of applications – spray, cream, gels or patches – to assist with arthritic pain and stiffness.

Krill and Calamari oil : Like fish oil, krill oil is rich in omega-3 fats, which help reduce joint pain, and is easily absorbed by the body. Calamari oil is high in omega-3 DHA, a specific omega-3, which can also aid brain function, eye function and heart health.

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