Whether you have degenerative osteoarthritis, autoimmune rheumatoid arthritis, or any of the other 100+ arthritis forms, living with stiff, achy, and painful joints can seriously affect your quality of life. Though moving your joints is essential to keep them well lubricated and functioning smoothly, you may hurt so much when you move that you don’t do much at all.
Controlling your pain and inflammation with medications might help you get through your day, but medications can affect your general health and have long-term effects. That’s why the medical experts at The Spine Center at the Bone and Joint Clinic of Baton Rouge in Baton Rouge, Walker, and Prairieville, Louisiana recommend natural ways to heal your arthritis, either as a first-line treatment or in combination with other therapies.
Load up on fruits and veggies
Who says a healthy diet has to be boring? Make each trip to the grocery store an adventure by seeking out whole, healthy foods that are rich in colors and flavors. You can learn about international cuisines, or just base your meals around creating the (literally) most colorful dishes possible, using:
- Sweet potatoes
- Citrus fruits
About nine servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day provide your cells with the antioxidants and nutrients they need to build strong bones, cartilage, and muscles. They’re also rich with anti-inflammatory ingredients that can help subdue arthritis pain without medication.
Then take a load off
If you avoid processed foods and jam plenty of fun activities into your day, you’ll probably find yourself shedding pounds without even thinking about it. When you take the load of extra pounds off your joints, they’ll thank you for it.
Unneeded fat is a burden on your joints that presses the bones together so they’re more likely to degrade your protective cartilage, or to rub against one another if your cartilage is already gone. If you have trouble losing weight without gaining it all back, talk to your doctor about medical weight loss.
Get buff (ish)
Building stronger muscles — especially in your core — helps you take pressure off your joints. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder, but getting toned and strong not only helps your arthritis but improves your health overall.
As part of your arthritis treatment, we might recommend physical therapy exercises to improve your strength and range of motion. Your physical therapist might also administer pain-relieving therapies, such as massage and electrotherapeutics, to promote healing and soothe your nerves.
Building muscle is good for your joints and your health, but it’s not the only type of exercise you need. Aerobic activities increase the oxygen in your body and stimulate your circulation.
Moving your joints without stressing them also releases a special lubricant called synovial fluid. Get your synovial fluid flowing by engaging in movements such as:
- Tai Chi
- Martial arts
Switching up activities is good for your body, as it forces you to use new muscles and build overall strength. It’s good for your brain, too, because you’re less likely to get bored if you keep your routine varied.
Go hot, then cold
Alternating cold compresses with heat therapy stimulates your circulation, which aids in healing and relieving inflammation and pain. The cold pool forces your blood vessels to constrict, while the hot bath dilates them, which is like exercise for your veins.
You can devise your own hot/cold therapy by alternating cold compresses for 10–20 minutes with a heating pad. Be sure you never put ice or a heating element directly on your skin.
You can get a more full-body hot/cold therapy if your gym has a whirlpool and a cold pool. Ask your doctor or physical therapist about the best routine for you, or start with one minute in the cold pool and two in the hot pool.
Turn your blood into a super serum
At The Spine Center at the Bone and Joint Clinic of Baton Rouge, we offer cutting-edge regenerative medicine in the form of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. Your medical professional creates the PRP serum from a small blood draw from your arm. They inject the concentrated, healing platelets directly into your joints to help your body:
- Rebuild cartilage
- Stop inflammation
- Reduce swelling
- Heal nerves
Unlike drugs, PRP takes time to work, as it stimulates your body to build new tissues and repair damage. Regenerative medicine may significantly decrease your pain within 6–12 months.
To find out how you can take a more natural approach to your arthritis pain, call us at 833-774-6327 or book an appointment online.