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Top 3 Tips for Relief from Arthritis Pain: No medication needed!

I’ve got a quick story for you, about a client who suffered from arthritis. She had been feeling achy, chronically stiff, and had pain in her joints that was starting to radiate through her limbs. Ouch. When she was diagnosed – she was shocked, thinking “I’m 23 years old – how is this even possible?” Well, with autoimmune arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), your immune system attacks the lining of your joints – at any age! 

She looked for alternatives because she didn’t want to be on arthritis medication for the rest of her life. And I don’t blame her! Some of these intense anti-inflammatory medications used for osteoarthritis treatment and RA can be really hard on your vital organs — even causing prolonged nausea, headaches, fatigue, and brain fog. Many RA medications also drastically reduce your immune system placing you at higher risk for infection, drug-related cancers, and in rare cases even death. No thanks!

The good news is that there is an alternative to medication! One important thing to note about joint pain is that typically the more you move, the better you will feel. I know, I know – it sounds counterintuitive. But, think of it like this. The motion involved in moving your joints actually creates lubrication between your joints, making it easier and much less painful to move. Remember, motion is lotion…for your joints! 

This client worked through progressive yoga and physical therapy-based mobility exercises with me, and quickly experienced amazing results – as long as she keeps up with her mobility work she experiences no more chronic pain and has yet to go on arthritis medication! HUGE WIN! 

Here were the three most important things I shared with her…which I will now share with you!

#1 If you have any form of arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, it is so important to stay mobile. Even the most gentle movements will go such a long way to increase your mobility and level of comfort. Yoga-based mobility is great for this, because you can work your whole body and isolate certain joints that need more TLC. 

However, with Rheumatoid Arthritis, specifically during times of flare up, it is advised that you avoid intense stretching and exercising as this may be more detrimental to your joints and create more damage than good.  It’s not to say don’t move at all, rather modify your intensity and be gentle on your body as you move through your day or attempt a light mobility practice during a flare up.  Once it resolves, you can continue your regular strength and mobility practices.

#2 Practicing balance poses and core strengthening with mobility work or gentle yoga practice will improve your flexibility and balance. This will increase your long term strength and endurance, which will in turn support your joints and overall stability for a lifetime. 

#3 One of the most common things I would see as a Physical Therapist Assistant were people who experienced gradual muscle deterioration, aka “sarcopenia” – because getting moving again with arthritis was causing them too much pain. So, in addition to rebuilding muscle strength and endurance, you also want to ensure that you keep up with your strength and mobility work! This requires just a few minutes of daily movement – if you don’t use it, you lose it! So be sure that you stay consistent! As I always say — CONSISTENCY IS KEY! 

Arthritic pain and stiffness can be present at any age, whether it is simple osteoarthritis from “wear and tear” and the aging process, or Rheumatoid arthritis which is a systemic inflammatory disease process that attacks your joints.  

Your body is unique and so will be your journey if you have arthritis.  Not every person requires medication, though some may eventually or intermittently from time to time.  However, EVERY BODY can benefit from healthy mobility practices, yoga, whole body strengthening and balance training to protect your joints.

With arthritis you do want to make sure you work progressively – start simple and gentle and go from there. Need some help with this? Not sure where to start? Check out Chair Yoga for Joint Healing, which is the perfect “done-for-you” place to start! 

If you need ongoing support, get on board with the Yoga Prehab™ Membership – for just 0.60 cents per day, you’ll get the very best at-home Physical Therapy-based healing guidance, easy-to-follow yoga mobility programs, and more!

Hot or Cold? How to heat treat pain points

Hot or cold? Warm or chilly? What temperature treatments are best to resolve aches and pains? Temperature can in fact be an excellent way to warm up or cool down muscles, soothe or invigorate different areas of stiffness or lingering pain. But, which is best – and when?

All good questions, and important ones to ask as you continue on your quest to keep all your muscles and joints happy and healthy. My training as a Physical Therapy Assistant allowed me to learn and apply some very important practical knowledge about hot and cold treatments for injuries and pain points. 

First off, always practice caution with any sort of temperature remedy. Using a remedy that is either way too hot or way too cold can leave you with a burn, only making life more uncomfortable. Not a fun time!

Also, if you have any sort of sensation impairments, be extra, extra cautious with temperature modalities. For example, someone who is diabetic may experience impaired sensation in their limbs and would not feel the degree to which ice may be too cold or a source of heat may be too hot. And, always keep a layer (or two) between your skin and the source of heat or cold! This protects your skin, while still allowing the temperature remedy to help out your muscles. 

Secondly, there are a lot of opinions about using hot and cold remedies, but I have always found this methodology below to be helpful, especially in terms of recovering from an injury, healing, soothing inflammation, or battling stiffness. 

For tightness and stiffness, think heat. Easy to remember because you can think about the warmth penetrating your muscles and warming them up for an activity. This is what you want – your muscles to be “unfrozen” for comfortable movement and activity. For pain and inflammation, opt for cold – using ice or a cold compress to help decrease any swelling and minimize any pain you might be feeling. 

PRO-TIPS

  1. If you’re working to loosen up a chronically stiff area, you can utilize heat before your mobility and movement work for about 10-15 minutes. 
  2. After you are done with your stretching, strengthening, and mobility work in that area, you can then use ice or a cold compress for about 15-20 minutes. This will aid in decreasing any possible inflammation or soreness after your exercise and movement. 

Any questions? Let me know how I can you out and be sure to connect with me on Instagram for even more wellness and workout tips and tricks!

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. Content provided above is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease, injury, or other medical issues. By participating in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Yoga with Tristan, Tristan Gatto, his heirs, beneficiaries, associations and partnerships from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of Yoga with Tristan’s negligence.