What is Arthritis?

In general terms, Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints that is usually accompanied by pain or stiffness that worsens with age. There are several types of arthritis but the most common are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

The pain is often very debilitating and can limit people from completing everyday tasks and activities.  Management often includes medication to manage the pain that range from over the counter medications (Tylenol, Advil), to prescribed medications (Hydrocodone), and even corticosteroids. The most extreme measures of treatment may include surgical intervention (joint replacement), however this is a complicated process that should only be sought out when every other possibility has been exhausted.

People that suffer from arthritis are often unaware of the conservative treatment options that are available to them.

Conservative management should be the first approach when managing arthritis symptoms.  Conservative management can include simple changes to one’s lifestyle that helps to limit provocation of symptomology. Dietary changes can help dramatically by avoiding certain “inflammatory” foods such as sugar, as well as incorporating “non-inflammatory” foods like garlic, and turmeric. Included below is a list of some of the foods that fit into each category.

Inflammatory (AVOID these foods):

  • White sugars & sweets
  • Red meats
  • Trans Fats
  • Iodized (table) salt
  • Alcohol
  • Synthetic sweeteners and additives (Splenda, aspartame, artificial colouring and flavours)

Anti-Inflammatory (EAT these foods):

  • Incorporate ingredients: Garlic, Curcumin, Tumeric, Coconut Oil
  • Omega-3 (Flaxseeds, walnuts, salmon, herring, trout, tuna)
  • Vitamin C, E, B
  • Berries, cherries, apples, pears (in moderation)
  • Vegetables (broccoli, kale, spinach)

Exercise is often avoided by those suffering from arthritis.  They are often apprehensive with starting an exercise regimen, because they fear that it may cause more pain.  It is important to exercise to maintain strength, which will help support the joints.  If you don’t continue to move joints that hurt, they will become worse and hurt significantly more when you do need to use them. Exercises should be low impact such as swimming, biking, or yoga. The goal of exercise should be to maintain joint range of motion.

Supplementing lifestyle changes and exercise with therapy will help you on your way to living a pain-free lifestyle. Although there is no guarantee that you will become pain free, there are several options that your practitioner can suggest such as soft tissue therapy, chiropractic adjustments, or medical acupuncture that can help keep your joints moving which will lead to tolerable and manageable discomfort levels.


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