How To Live With Arthritis

Post by Sharon

*** Disclaimer - I am not a medical professional, but a person with arthritis who does her research. I share what I've found and the links to these findings to research yourself. ***

What is arthritis - 

There are 31,000,000 Americans with osteoarthritis, the most common kind of arthritis, although it can take many forms over a wide range of ages such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile arthritis....

It is the degeneration of joints resulting in stiffness, pain, and swelling in many cases.


Treatment modalities - 

The top one you can do right now is quit smoking and start exercising/losing weight. The movement is actually good for you and develops muscles that can better support the joints. If you sit too long with arthritis and get up and move around, you will feel "gelling" which is the stiffness/soreness/limited range of motion of having stayed in the same position. You might notice in the morning as you start moving you feel ancient until you get moving around more.

It goes without saying that avoiding injuries of the joints is helpful. Any athlete will tell you that whatever sport they did when they were younger, they are paying for it now. 

There are medications available and doctors more often than not move to things like NSAIDs like naproxen sodium (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Advil). If there are autoimmune indicators, like rheumatoid factor, they might consider some of the new drugs for these issues to prevent more joint loss. Painkillers have long been a standard, but many are scared to begin that path. Many states now have medical marijuana and folks are finding relief with this alternative including cannabis oil to rub onto the joints. Stronger steroids like corticosteroids can also be utilized but like any medication, can have some detrimental effects you must discuss with your doctor.

What's on the horizon for treating arthritis?  Nanoscale particles are one discussion underway to keep cartilage from breaking down. 

Some people choose naturopathic/herbal remedies for arthritis and swear by it. Things like turmeric, tart cherry, chondroitin, and ginger have been touted as helpful. 

Here are 10 foods considered good for your arthritis - 
Fatty fish (sardines, salmon, trout, mackerel - the Omega 3's are very helpful and can be found in fish oil supplements and also things like flaxseed)

Olive Oil
Tart cherry juice


Where to live - 

San Diego, CA
Albuquerque, NM
Phoenix, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Denver, CO

The indicators are dry air and less barometic pressure changes. 

I live in Phoenix and I have to say I feel great until December and January and I feel a bit of morning stiffness in my hands but that's it. If I go north to the high country where they have full-on winter, I feel like an ancient stick figure hobbling around. I know at this point I would not survive the winters of my youth any longer. I understand now why late-in-lifer's move to warm climates. 


What kind of exercise is best? 

Strength Training
Stretch bands


Ultimately, with less weight, your joints take less stress. Ask anyone who is over 60 pounds or so overweight how their knees feel. Less weight on the joints helps, as does strengthening the muscles around the joints to support the joint in its range of motion. 


With diligence, arthritis can be improved to the point of great function, but with aggravating factors like hard labor, smoking, poor diet, cold weather and weight gain it can be worsened.