The holidays are a great time to catch up with friends and spend quality time with family. From parties to special dinners to festive family traditions, this time of year is full of joy and excitement. But if the most important people in your life don’t live nearby, you’ll probably be traveling – and when you live with arthritis, that can often mean pain. Continue reading Holiday Travel Can Be a Pain
Fall is a beautiful time of year – but along with changing leaves and cooler temps can come painful arthritis flares and inflamed joints. Changes in weather are often a source of discomfort for people with arthritis. Thankfully, there are ways you can lessen the impact cooler temps have on your joints, including making a pain plan that works for you.
The anxiety and pain of the injections shouldn’t prevent you from managing your arthritis and protecting your quality of life. Use these tips to ease the pain and stress of self-injections.
A pretty piece of jewelry makes a thoughtful Mother’s Day or anytime gift. However, “the pinching motion also puts pressure on your finger joints, which can lead to pain,” says Jacqueline F. Lawrence, an occupational therapist at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in Houston. But you don’t need to give up your love for sparkle. Tell your partner and kids about these options:
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.”
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.
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.
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.