Arthritis

Arthritis makes joints painful to move. There are more than one hundred types of arthritis, among the most common forms are:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis, which can cause feelings of stiffness all over the body.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis, which causes chronic sore back and morning stiffness.
  • Osteoarthritis, which mostly causes knobby swelling of finger joints, but can also affect the neck, hips, knees, or spine.
  • Gout is another form of arthritis that is mostly common in men.  Gout causes severe pain and swelling in one joint at a time, and often affects the knee, ankle, or big toe area.

First Aid for Arthritis pain starts with hot and cold therapy:

  • During painful flare-ups, apply moist heat to the area two or three times a day for at least 20 minutes. Using hot soaks, hot packs, heating pads, or heat lamps can help. Massage sore spots after heat treatments. Taking a warm bath each morning can help reduce joint stiffness.
  • Putting cold packs on painful joints can also help. Alternating hot and cold treatments is also effective, and should be done in 10-minute intervals two or three times a day for 20 minutes.
  • It is very important for arthritis sufferers to stay hydrated by drinking at least 2 quarts of water per day.
  • Taking aspirin or ibuprofen can be helpful in managing pain, but do not use both in the same day. Aspirin, taken at night, can help reduce swelling and joint stiffness in the morning. As with all medications, become aware of the side effects of aspirin before taking.

Alternative therapies for relieving arthritis pain include Yoga exercises, and eating probiotic foods like yogurt and sour cream.  Yoga has consistently proven effective in reducing arthritis pain by increasing the body’s capacity to move certain limbs and joints. The healthy bacteria in probiotic foods help the digestive system deal with stress caused by some arthritis medications. Some researchers also think that probiotics have anti-inflammatory properties, which might help lessen the swelling caused by arthritis.

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