Arthritis is a broad term that describes more than 100 different conditions that cause pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. For some, the pain is mild and easily managed with anti-inflammatory medications, rest and diet. For those whose arthritis pain is more moderate or severe, some days can be more challenging than others. One of the best ways to slow down or prevent further joint damage is to understand what triggers arthritic pain and doing your best to avoid these triggers. Some of the more common triggers that may cause arthritic pain include –
Smoking increases inflammation that makes joint pain worse. For those who have rheumatoid arthritis, smoking can lead to a genetic reaction that can lead to cause even more pronounced arthritic symptoms.
Physical activities or strength training can strengthen the muscles and ligaments that support the joints that can be affected by arthritis. Exercise doesn’t have to be overly strenuous and you don’t have to join a gym; you can be more active by taking the stairs, walking the dog or doing stretching exercises while streaming your favorite TV show. Remember: high-impact activities such as running can stress your joints, triggering arthritic symptoms. Instead, opt for a gentler exercise like swimming and cycling that will help keep your joints flexible. Talk to your doctor about curating a custom exercise plan that will work for your needs.
Constant stress alters your immune system function and aggravates your arthritis. There are several mind-body exercises you can do to help lower your stress levels and control joint pain; these include yoga, medication and going for long walks. Taking “sanity” breaks and re-evaluating lifestyle choices can reduce stress and simplify expectations. Speaking to a mental health professional can also help you develop strategies to overcome triggers that could affect your arthritis.
Lack of sleep can trigger arthritic pain, so it’s essential to try every night to get meaningful and adequate sleep that can help you relieve stress and help your body “reset” for the next day. Sleep provides the joints time to rest and rejuvenate; it also helps take a load off of weary bones and joints.
Excess weight can place additional stress on your joints and make arthritis symptoms even worse. Losing excess weight and maintaining a healthy body mass index relieve pressure and weight off your joints and help you sleep better, reduce stress and make exercising more comfortable. It will also make arthritis treatment more effective.
Some food ingredients can increase the chances of inflammation. The best way to counter the effects of poor nutritional choices is to opt for healthy ones by avoiding saturated and trans fats, sodium and sugar, preservatives and MSG. For many, gluten increases flare-ups of arthritic symptoms; the same is true of alcohol. Opt for a “joint-friendly” diet that is high in Omega 3s, whole grains, unprocessed, lean meats and fruits and vegetables. Certain foods, such as shellfish and red meats, are known to trigger gout attacks. If you have arthritis, it’s a good thing to consult with a nutritionist to ensure your diet is not detracting from your well-being or triggering arthritic symptoms.
Inter-disciplinary Healthcare in the Northwest
If you find your arthritis is getting worse or you are having trouble managing them, don’t hold off seeing a doctor. Depending on the type of arthritis you have, you may need to consult with an orthopedist, pain management specialist, physiatrist, regenerative medicine specialist or other medical provider. If this is the case, it is best to consider an interdisciplinary medical practice like Lynx Healthcare, where we offer different medical services depending on your unique condition. With convenient locations throughout the Pacific Northwest and now, New Mexico, there is a Lynx Healthcare office near you. Contact us at (509) 591-0070 or request an appointment today to reach out to one of our healthcare practitioners.