Massage is one of the most popular healing practices and has proven beneficial for many people with arthritis. Dozens of massage techniques exist, ranging from gentle to intense, but almost all aim to ease stress and sore muscles. For some, it’s also a way to connect and communicate with another human being and feel safe and comforted.
Tiffany Field, PhD, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, has conducted many studies on the benefits of massage for adults and children with arthritis. Her research has repeatedly shown that moderate-pressure massage can lead to improved pain, stiffness, range of motion, hand grip strength and overall function in people with OA, RA and fibromyalgia.
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You may know that berries are full of health benefits. Sure, they are loaded with fiber, which helps you feel full (and eat less). But did you know berries are good for easing your arthritis symptoms, too? Berries top the charts in antioxidant power, protecting your body against inflammation and free radicals, molecules that can damage cells and organs. Studies in aging animals even show that mixed berries improve cognition and motor performance.
James Joseph, PhD, director of the Neuroscience Lab at the United States Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, which conducted the studies, notes that people become more susceptible to the damaging effects of free radicals and inflammation as they age. Berries help prevent those effects by turning off the inflammation signals triggered by cytokines and COX-2s, he says, making them an ideal part of your diet.
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Treadmills seem simple, but they can be hazardous, particularly for people with joint or balance issues. Trying to catch yourself when you lose your balance can result in muscle strains or injury in almost any joint, says physical therapist Mary Ann Wilmarth, CEO of Back2Back Physical Therapy in Andover, Mass.
“Injuries can go all the way up the kinetic chain when people slip and try to recover by catching themselves. This can mean foot injuries, strained or sprained ankles, shoulders and wrists – as well as the back and hips if you’re twisting as you lose balance,” she says.
Continue reading 10 Tips for Using the Treadmill Safely with Arthritis
If you are among the nearly one-third of people with arthritis who live with anxiety and depression, you know that your emotional well-being can have a profound impact on your physical health. When you are depressed you may not eat healthfully, exercise or take your medication regularly. New research shows that being sad for a prolonged period of time can also have a negative effect on bone health in both men and women.
Happy Life Leads to Healthy Bones in Women
A 2014 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine found that bone density was 52% higher in postmenopausal women who reported feeling satisfied with their lives when compared with those who said they were unsatisfied. Participants were asked to measure their overall well-being in four areas: interest in life, happiness in life, ease of living and feelings of loneliness.
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Getting ready in the morning can leave you feeling worn out before the day even starts, especially if morning stiffness creates difficulty with grooming and dressing. Follow these tips to make your mornings less painful.
1. Prep at night. If you’re typically less stiff in the evening, assemble your outfit and grooming needs at night before bed (and set up the coffeemaker, if that’s an important part of your morning). Lay out your supplies and clothes in the order you’ll need them.
2. Sit and shower. To avoid falls in the shower, sit on a waterproof chair. You can buy one at a medical supply store or use a sturdy lawn chair.
Continue reading 9 Tips to Make Your Morning Routine With Arthritis Easier
Physicians who treat patients with arthritis and related conditions now have more help in selecting treatments, thanks to a growing library of new and updated clinical guidelines and recommendations.
When faced with both common and uncommon situations, unanswered questions or complicated cases, guidelines and recommendations can provide physicians with answers without the need to personally do exhaustive searches of the medical literature, says Michael Ward, MD, an investigator for the National Institutes of Health.
Guidelines are not meant to replace the judgment of a knowledgeable physician or the preferences of a patient, says Dr. Ward.
“The [American College of Rheumatology] makes the point that these are not requirements, but need to be judged in the context of each individual patient, because each individual patient is different, has a different medical history, has different comorbidities or different contraindications to particular treatments, and all of that needs to be factored in when deciding on any particular course of action,” says Dr. Ward, who was principal investigator for new recommendations for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis and non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis.
Continue reading New Arthritis Treatment Guidelines Available
Earlier diagnosis and advances in treatment mean that people with arthritis are likely to have a better quality of life than they did a generation ago. Yet research shows that having arthritis still impacts one’s health-related quality of life in negative ways. In a study published in 2011 in Arthritis Care & Research, researchers found that measures of physical and mental health were consistently two to three times worse in people with arthritis than in those without arthritis.
For the study, researchers reviewed data collected from more than a million adults. The data stem from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an ongoing nationwide telephone health survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Study participants did not specify what type of arthritis they had; they were asked whether a doctor or other health professional had ever told them they had some form of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, gout and lupus.
Continue reading Arthritis Affects Both Physical and Mental Health
For many years, people have claimed that certain foods in their diet reduced pain and joint inflammation from arthritis. Researchers continue to investigate whether foods and spices actually may play a role in relieving joint pain and, if so, how they work.
“Mostly it’s just healthy eating, with a lot of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds,” says registered dietitian Ruth Frechman, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Continue reading 6 Food Choices to Help Ease Arthritis Pain
Wouldn’t it be great if you could just snap your fingers and know you’d never gain weight as you grow older? Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen. Exercise, cutting calories and smart eating are mandatory if you want to sail through your later years without putting on extra pounds.
The good news is, unless you are obese or have health issues, you don’t necessarily have to embark on special diets to keep extra weight at bay. All you have to do is choose your foods wisely. Ideally, you should make smart eating decisions before you put anything in your mouth.
Follow these recommendations from Larry Tucker, PhD, an obesity researcher and professor in the department of exercise sciences at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. They will help you avoid the numerous temptations we all face every day, from the birthday cake at the office party to Sunday brunch with the in-laws.
Continue reading 11 Smart Eating Tips for Arthritis
When you’re fighting chronic pain, depression and too little sleep, you need easy ways to boost your energy. Start with how – and what – you’re eating.
There are many reasons your energy may flag throughout the day: disease-related fatigue, medication side effects, pain that wears you out, depression, poor sleep and even inactivity. But you may be surprised to learn that some of your eating habits can sap your energy, too. Get on the right track with these smart eating tips for an energy boost.
1. Don’t Go Hungry
The body needs energy to expend energy. That’s why when you skip meals, or wait too long to eat, you can feel unfocused or lethargic.
“When you skip, you’re simply not fueling your body enough,” says Lona Sandon, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Plus, she adds, “when you’re hungry, you get irritated and that can exacerbate fatigue.”
2. Eat Breakfast
People who eat breakfast tend to eat healthier. In one large study published in 2008 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that breakfast eaters tend to eat healthier meals and fewer calories over the course of a day. Women in the study who ate breakfast weighed less.
3. Pass On The Sweet Stuff
Sugary cereals, sweet pastries and high-calorie coffees will give you a quick jolt of energy, but at a cost. The sugar burns off quickly, leaving you lethargic, says Thomas Namey, MD, a rheumatologist and professor of medicine at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Continue reading 8 Ways to Fight Fatigue With Food