Sleeping allows your body to recover from the day and prepare for the new day ahead. Stiff joints can make sleeping more difficult. Here are some tips to help make your bed more comfortable for a restful night of sleep. Continue reading 5 Ways to Make Your Bed Joint-Friendly
Between normal stress and worry, too-much screen time on smartphones and tablets, staying up late, having to get up too early and many other reasons, getting a good night’s sleep can be elusive. Add arthritis pain into the mix and you just might find yourself on the short end of the sleep equation too often. Continue reading Five Ways to Get Better Sleep if you Have Arthritis
Try these 9 simple remedies to ease your pain.
Here is a quick list of some popular non-drug therapies for arthritis pain relief. They may be used alone, or in conjunction with each other. Continue reading Arthritis Pain Relief Without Drugs
Jack Frost is no friend when you have arthritis. Winter brings the challenges of sore throats, slippery sidewalks and cold, stiff joints. Linda Russell, MD, a rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, offers these tips for staying well, safe and comfortable when cold weather hits. Continue reading Cold Weather Checklist for People With Arthritis
When arthritis pain strikes, it may be tempting to withdraw and crawl back into bed. But giving in to this feeling may worsen the pain, says Marni Amsellem, PhD, a Connecticut and New York-based clinical health psychologist. Instead, having a list of mood boosters is a better way to cope with arthritis pain, she says. A fun activity can take your mind off the pain and brighten your outlook.
Here’s some suggestions to help get you started:
Turmeric has moved to the top of the healthy food chain. The 4,000-year-old staple of Southeast Asian cooking is showing up everywhere, including ballpark snacks and Starbucks lattes. It’s easy to understand why; turmeric’s most active component, curcumin, is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that may help treat or prevent diseases ranging from arthritis to ulcerative colitis and cancer. But does adding turmeric to your latte or plate of chicken masala do these things?
Not likely, says Randy Horowitz, MD, medical director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine in Tucson.
“Turmeric only contains about 2 to 6 percent curcumin, so you’re not getting much [of the anti-inflammatory effect],” he says.
Ground turmeric has other strikes against it. Ezra Bejar, PhD, a San Diego-based expert in botanical research, warns that with turmeric’s increasing popularity, unscrupulous manufacturers are adding synthetic turmeric to the real thing. Some additives, like vibrantly yellow lead chromate, are toxic. In the last few years, 13 brands of turmeric have been recalled for lead contamination.
While living with arthritis can create stresses most people might not even think about, a technique called expressive writing may bring relief, both mentally and physically. For example, maybe you’re angry because pain is keeping you from joining friends on a shopping trip or playing with your kids – again. You may be stuck in anger.
“But in addition to anger, you probably also feel grief, loss and a lack of control over the circumstances,” says clinical psychologist Mark Lumley, PhD, psychology professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. “Expressive writing can help bring forward those less-accessible feelings besides anger that don’t always have a voice.
Writing this way reduces inner conflict and provides you a better sense of emotional balance – and perhaps even less pain – when you express those feelings on paper.”
Aromatherapy won’t cure your arthritis, but it may ease certain symptoms and help you feel better. For example, lavender is sometimes used to relieve anxiety and promote sleep. Some research shows aromatherapy may even have benefits for pain. Two small studies found aromatherapy massage with lavender or ginger and orange oils led to short-term relief of knee pain.
“It doesn’t work for everyone, but some have good outcomes,” says Sue Cutshall, a Mayo Clinic integrative health clinical nurse specialist. However, as with other “natural” treatments, you should exercise caution when using them; in rare cases, they can be hazardous.
Essential oils are the foundation of aromatherapy. The oils – extracted from plants, flowers, herbs and trees – are most often used for their scent, but they can also be mixed with lotions or alcohol and used as bath or massage products.
Most essential oils have few side effects or risks when used as directed, but some can cause harm. Undiluted essential oils can provoke skin problems, and citrus essential oils can increase sun sensitivity.
In addition to prescription medications, supplements can help improve overall health of those with arthritis. With a wide variety of supplements available, it’s important to pay attention to what you are purchasing. Here are some tips for shopping for supplements.
It’s not always easy to stay positive – but dwelling on negative thoughts can do more than put you in a blue mood; your thoughts affect the way you feel mentally and physically, says Helen Grusd, PhD, a Los Angeles clinical psychologist who specializes in health psychology. Studies have shown that gloomy thoughts can worsen pain and fatigue and negatively affect your immune system.
Fortunately, positive thinking can have the opposite effect. Try these simple mood boosters.