Osteoarthritis (aka Degenerative Joint Disease) affects 27 million adult Americans according to the CDC. Treating severe cases of arthritis usually involves joint replacement surgery but making some lifestyle changes can slow down or even repair the damage to the joint. Here are three changes you can make right now.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Keeping your weight down is really important for weight-bearing joints like the knees and hips, which are the two joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis. In fact, NIAMS (the national institute that makes guidelines for treating arthritis) lists exercise and losing weight as the first two approaches to treating osteoarthritis. Choosing a proper diet to keep the weight off is important. At Balance Acupuncture, we prefer using the Transitions Lifestyles System, but any diet that is high in nutrition and low in fats, starches and simple carbohydrates will work.
Staying physically active is important for improving joint mobility and circulation. However, joint pain can also make it more difficult to exercise. The key is to find exercises that are low impact, like walking, gentle stretching or water exercises. The more you can move the joints without putting too much pressure on them, the better. A great resource for information on exercise and stretching with osteoarthritis is WebMD. Check out these links:
- Exercises for osteoarthritis of the knee
- Staying active with osteoarthritis
Image courtesy of Dennis Tang