All posts by Arthritis Foundation

art therapy and arthritis

Art Therapy to Ease Stress

You don’t have to paint like Picasso to benefit from drawing a picture or creating a collage. In fact, no matter your artistic skills, just the practice of making art may ease stress and arthritis pain.

A small study in the journal Art Therapy found art making – drawing, making collages or molding clay – even for just 45 minutes lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol in people, regardless of their creative ability. And numerous studies link high levels of cortisol to inflammation and greater pain sensitivity. While some study participants found the experience relaxing, others liked the creative self-expression.

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fusion workouts for arthritis

Go Hybrid for Your Arthritis Workout

Yogalates. Gyrotonics. Piloxing. They may be hard to pronounce, but fusion workouts – which combine moves from two or more disciplines, such as yoga and Pilates (yogalates) or water aerobics and tai chi (ai chi) – are increasingly popular.

“People love fusion fitness because it’s challenging and novel,” says Jessica Matthews, group fitness expert and spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) in San Diego and a fitness trainer who has trained people with arthritis.

But is it safe and worth your time? Fusion workouts can introduce you to other forms of exercise. Plus, “if you enjoy a particular type of exercise but are bored with your current routine, it’s a great way to break through the monotony,” says Matthews.

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paying for alternative medicine

Paying for Alternative Medicine

If you’ve tried acupuncture, therapeutic massage or other complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments to ease your arthritis symptoms, you’re not alone. About a third of U.S. adults use some form of CAM therapy, at an estimated out-of-pocket cost of $30.2 billion in 2012, according to a National Health Interview Survey. This number represents only 1.1% of total health care spending, but it’s more than 9% of total out-of-pocket health care expenses.

Countless studies have shown that certain CAM therapies may help reduce the pain and disability associated with arthritis and related conditions, yet health insurance often doesn’t cover them. Here are some tips from industry experts to improve the chances that your insurance plan will foot the bill.

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arthritis diet shopping canned foods

Arthritis Diet Power Shopping: Canned Foods

Meats, soups, fruits or vegetables, the canned variety offers many benefits. You’ll still get the inflammation-fighting omega 3 fatty acids in canned salmon, sardines and tuna. Canned vegetables and fruits are often processed shortly after they are picked, and nutrient losses don’t occur during shipping, on the grocer’s shelf, or in your home. Their portability makes them great for an arthritis diet on the go. They last longer and can save you money.

And there are some veggies that may be more beneficial in canned form rather than fresh. Canned tomatoes, for example, are a better source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, because cooking makes them easier for the body to absorb. According to a comparative analysis of canned, fresh, and frozen fruits and vegetables by the University of Illinois Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, fiber content is as high in canned products as in their fresh counterparts and the canning process may actually increase calcium levels in fish as compared to its freshly cooked variety.

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medical imaging arthritis diagnosis

Medical Imaging for Arthritis Diagnosis

Whether it’s magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), an ultrasound or a good old-fashioned X-ray, your doctor is likely to order some type of medical imaging to see what’s going on below the surface with your arthritis.

“The most important thing rheumatologists can do to assess patients is still a good history and clinical exam. The role of imaging is to assist in assessing the degree of severity,” says Orrin Troum, MD, professor of medicine at University of Southern California and spokesperson for the International Society for Musculoskeletal Imaging in Rheumatology. Understanding its severity helps a doctor decide how aggressively to treat the disease.

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remove snow ice

Less Painful Ways to Remove Snow and Ice

Shoveling snow can be back-breaking work, even when you don’t have arthritis. Add in the pain and stiffness of arthritis, and you need to find a different solution. We’ve got some options for you. But take precautions. Even these simpler means to melting winter’s mix can be strenuous, so talk to your doctor or therapist before you try them.

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