Add spice: If you like food with a kick, fighting arthritis can be delicious. Spicy foods, like hot temperatures, can keep your body’s circulation moving. Try capsaicin, the chemical that gives peppers their heat. It’s the main ingredient in at least one prescription pain relief patch, but it tastes good in chili, too. If your taste runs more toward cookies than cayenne, try ginger, which has been shown to be comparable to ibuprofen in reducing menstrual and muscle pain. Or there’s turmeric, cinnamon and even rosemary. All of these spices are available in capsule form, but why bypass their great taste? A diet rich in spices is an enjoyable way to keep inflammation at bay.
Defy gravity: When you have arthritis, gravity is an enemy, always trying to bring you down. It accelerates the wear on joints and makes it harder to do the kinds of basic exercises that keep joints safe. Eliminating the effects of body weight on joints can give you temporary pain relief and allow you to strengthen your joints gently. So go swimming! Consider joining a gym with a pool or, better yet, a spa – your knees will love the combination of heat and weightlessness. Try aqua therapy to gain some strength in a low-impact setting. The Arthritis Foundation offers therapeutic aquatics classes through many hospitals for nominal costs. Check arthritis.org for locations near you.
Move it: Arthritic joints are painful to move, especially when inflamed and stiff. Although moving is the last thing you want to do when you’re in pain, motion actually will help to keep both the stiffness and the pain down. Continued movement by any means necessary is critical for the treatment of pain and stiffness in the mild and moderate stages of arthritis. Methodically increasing your walking tolerance under a doctor’s supervision to at least 30 minutes a day is crucial to extending your joints’ life.