Managing your weight
Reaching a healthy weight is vital for not just your overall health, but especially if you live with a form of arthritis.
Losing a few pounds will ease some of the daily pressure your body puts on the joints, especially the knees, hips and feet.If you’re interested in losing weight, be sure to not try a crash diet as this can worsen some types of arthritis. Try the Mediterranean diet that’s full of healthy fats, oily fish and fresh fruit and vegetables.
Exercises for arthritis
Exercising can help you to maintain a healthy weight as well as maintain the flexibility of your joints.
Low impact exercises like gentle walks or swimming do not increase the strain on your joints like a run would. You could also try tai chi, yoga or Pilates depending on your ability.
Stretching daily can also be beneficial to improve flexibility and range of movement.
Consult your doctor before trying anything that may put excessive pressure on the joints. They may also refer you to physical therapists to create a personalised exercise plan.
Lotions for arthritis
Creams and lotions can be applied onto the skin at the affected joint to help ease certain arthritis symptoms. Lotions that contain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, are the most popular options and can be found in most supermarkets.Looking for a natural, drug-free option? Devils claw has been used to help with the pain associated with osteoarthritis, in particular joint pain and inflammation2. Recent trials suggest that devil’s claw is effective in the reduction of osteoarthritis-related symptoms3. The herbal remedy is available in lotions, as well as supplements.
Hot and cold therapyHeat therapy can help to relax and soothe muscles and help ease stiffness4. Try applying a warm, not hot, heating pad or hot water bottle wrapped in a towel to the joint for around 15 to 20 minutes. You could also try a warm bath. Cold therapy is used to reduce swelling and inflammation5. Try applying an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the affected joint for short bursts of time, no longer than 10 minutes. You could also try an ice bath or a cooling spray.
Fish oil supplements for arthritis
You’ve probably already heard that fish oils containing omega-3 are good for your joints, brain and heart health. That's due to omega-3 is made up of two compounds called DHA and EPA which have been linked to reducing cell inflammation. As arthritis causes inflammation, upping your intake of fish oil supplements packed with omega fatty acids could help thanks to their natural anti-inflammatory effects. Studies have also shown that fatty acids could help to reduce joint pain and stiffness.
Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and trout are great sources of omega-3. If you don’t eat fish, omega-3 is also found in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils or supplements like Algal oil or Ahi Flower.
Glucosamine for arthritisGlucosamine has been used to treat osteoarthritis in the past6 thanks to its ability to repair and rebuild cartilage. You may also find that glucosamine and chondroitin are combined in supplements. Studies have shown that when taken in combination, it could help with osteoarthritis knee pain7.
Turmeric for arthritis
You may have already seen in forums people asking, ‘is turmeric good for arthritis?’ and it may be that you have some hiding in the back of your spice rack.However, turmeric contains active ingredient curcumin that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties with may help to reduce pain. Curcumin’s effect on reducing inflammation means it can also help protect your joints from wear and tear. According to a 2016 study in the Journal of Medicinal Food, it eased symptoms like stiffness and helped with joint movement8.
You can continue to add turmeric to your meals or chose to take it in a supplement form instead. Black pepper is sometimes added to turmeric supplements, as many experts believe that black pepper aids the absorption of the active ingredient curcumin.
MSM for arthritisMethlysulfonylmethane (or MSM) is a natural compound that contains the mineral sulphur and is believed to have anti-inflammatory activities. MSM supplements are often taken to ease arthritis and other joint or muscle aches and pains9.
Apple cider vinegar for arthritisApple cider vinegar is believed to be anti-inflammatory, so this could be helpful for those who live with arthritis. Try adding a spoonful to your next glass of water. Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.
Last updated: 11th February 2020