Because your sense of smell is linked to the areas of the brain where emotion and memories are processed, you can use scents and fragrant plants to give yourself an emotional boost, relieve pain, and conjure up pleasant memories.
“Aromatherapy is effective because it works directly on the amygdala, the brain’s emotional center,” says Mehmet Oz, MD, director of integrative medicine center at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. “This has important consequences because the thinking part of the brain can’t inhibit the effects of the scent, meaning you feel them instantaneously.” Of the many uses of aromatherapy, pain relief is only one; anxiety reduction and rejuvenation are other common objectives.
“Aromas can heal by enhancing our memory and changing emotions that affect the body’s stress response,” says Esther Sternberg, MD, a rheumatologist and author of Healing Spaces. “If you can identify a fragrance that reminds you of a peaceful, pleasant place and puts you in the mood to say, meditate, it can have a very positive effect.”
Continue reading Try Aromatherapy for Pain Relief
You can make adjustments to minimize pain and safely accommodate a limited range of motion while driving. Start by adjusting mirrors so you won’t have to twist and turn to check blindspots when changing lanes. Elin Schold-Davis, an occupational therapist, driving rehabilitation specialist and coordinator of the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Older Driver Initiative, offers more tips. Continue reading 4 Tips to Ease Driving Pain
Spring cleaning often brings to attention those small repairs that you’ve been meaning to get around to. Stuck drawers, clogged drains, torn window screens – small household repairs can be an ordeal if you have painful hands from arthritis and a shortage of tools. But they don’t have to be. Nancy Ryan, an occupational therapist in New York City, suggests these simple shortcuts for doing common jobs with less pain and effort and with items you probably have on hand.
Continue reading Spring into Home Repairs With These Handy Tricks
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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Finding “home remedies” for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and other forms of arthritis is easy. Finding effective ones is a lot harder. Few have been rigorously studied, and even remedies that perform well in trials don’t work for everyone. Here are five low-risk therapies that science shows may reduce pain and inflammation.
Continue reading 5 Drug-Free Arthritis Remedies
With 28 bones, 33 joints and the stress of supporting the body, it’s not surprising that a lot can go wrong with your feet. Foot pain can result from many causes, including several forms of arthritis, says Carol Frey, MD, an orthopedic surgeon in Manhattan Beach, California. Here are some possible causes and what to do if you experience them.
Continue reading Foot Pain: What You Should Know
Getting from curbside to your seat on the plane is often the most trying part of the trip, especially if you have arthritis. These tips can make it easier to get through the airport.
Continue reading Take the Pain and Stress Out of Navigating the Airport
When you need a pick-me-up, help relaxing after a hard day or even a distraction from pain while working on a project, turn on some music.
Music activates your limbic system, the “emotional brain,” which controls emotions, memories and the senses. Music triggers the release of chemicals that can influence your sleep cycles, moods and other factors that contribute to a range of physical and emotional benefits.
Continue reading Use Music to Get You Through Pain
Making a bed can be a physical task, but don’t give up because you have arthritis. Bed making is easy with these tips.
Continue reading 6 Tips To Make Your Bed With Less Pain
The stress and tension that often come with road trips can add to physical discomfort and even lead to an arthritis flare. But with proper planning and a few travel tips, you can reduce surprises and anxiety, says Elin Schold Davis, an occupational therapist and coordinator of the Older Driver Initiative for the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) in Bethesda, Md. Here’s how.
Continue reading Road Trip Tips for Arthritis