12 helpful tips to relieve and prevent joint pain and arthritis

Relying on painkillers alone to reduce the joint pain from arthritis or wear and tear won't help much. It turns out there are a variety of steps you can take, from making lifestyle changes to taking natural supplements.

12 helpful tips to relieve and prevent joint pain and arthritis

Pain-relieving tips

  1. Keep a small rubber ball on your desk and in your car. Every time you get up to go to the toilet (at work) or come to a red light (when you're in the car) squeeze the ball 20 times in each hand. This helps to strengthen your hands and improves flexibility.
  2. Sip a cup of green tea in the morning. Polyphenols called catechins in green tea prevent arthritis in mice and significantly reduce cartilage damage in human beings.
  3. When you sit, keep both feet on the ground. Crossing your legs cuts off your blood circulation and pulls your back out of alignment.
  4. Switch over to spicy foods when your arthritis flares up. Spices such as cayenne pepper, ginger and turmeric contain compounds that reduce swelling and block a brain chemical that transmits pain signals. So buy yourself some Mexican, Indian and Thai cookbooks, or keep a bottle of hot sauce on your table at all times.
  5. Enhance the range of motion in your wrist with this exercise. Slowly bend your wrist backwards and forward, holding for a five second count in each position. Do three sets – ten times for each hand – twice a day.
  6. Always bend from the knees, not the back, when lifting. Also, keep the weight you're carrying close to your body, as if carrying a baby, for less risk of back strain.
  7. Crunch your way through 20 modified sit-ups every morning. These strengthen the abdominal muscles while stretching and relaxing the back. To do a modified sit-up, bend your knees or place your feet on a small stool or chair as you complete the crunch.
  8. On long drives, take a break every hour, get out of the car and walk around for five minutes, stretching like a cat. Your back will thank you later.
  9. For back relief, get on your hands and knees (on a padded surface) and round your back, again like a scared cat. Hold for five seconds, then let your stomach relax and sag for five seconds. Do two sets of ten each any time you've been sitting for more than an hour.
  10. Serve up some pickled herring for lunch or supper. It's rich in omega-3 fatty acids, shown to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain from arthritis.
  11. Play a computer game, read a book or watch a film when your joints are hurting. Researchers find that concentrating on what you're doing distracts you from your pain.
  12. Quit smoking. Smoking narrows the arteries and reduces your circulation and that, increases your risk of back pain and slows healing.
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