Dr. Arthritis Asks: How Do You Exercise When You Suffer From Chronic Pain?

Exercise is critical for easing arthritis pain and stiffness.

This may seem counterintuitive for anyone who deals with chronic joint pain. After all, it’s hard to get up and get moving when you can barely get yourself out of bed. But exercise when you have arthritis doesn’t mean you have to train for a marathon or follow a cross fit program. Simple, moderate exercise is enough to make a world of difference for your pain and maintaining your weight.

When Arthritis Threatens to Immobilize You, Exercise Can Help Keep You Moving

We get it, dealing with painful and stiff joints day in and day out because of arthritis makes exercise the very last thing that we want to do. However, lack of exercise can actually make your symptoms worse.

Keeping the muscles and surrounding tissue around your joints strong is essential to ensuring long term support for your bones. When you don’t exercise, these muscles weaken and that leads to additional stress on your joints. Additionally, lack of exercise makes it harder for arthritis sufferers to maintain a healthy weight, which is crucial for ensuring less stress on joints.

Finding the right exercise program and sticking to it can help you improve your overall health and fitness without aggravating your joints. Combined with a comprehensive treatment program, incorporating exercise into your daily routine can:

  • Strengthen muscles around your joints that help with flexibility and mobility
  • Help you maintain bone strength
  • Contribute to giving you more energy throughout the day
  • Help give you better quality sleep
  • Improve your balance
  • Help you control your weight
  • Help you manage your mood better
  • Enhance your quality of life

Work Closely With Your Doctor To Find the Right Exercise Program

Because you’re dealing with chronic pain, it’s important that you work closely with your healthcare team to learn how you can incorporate a consistent exercise program with your current treatment plan.

What types of exercises are best suited for you will depend on the kind of your arthritis that you suffer from and what joints are affected by your condition. A doctor or physical therapist can help determine what programs will maximize benefits while minimizing the stress on your joints.

  • Strengthening Exercises: To help strengthen muscles that are essential to supporting and protecting your joints, strengthening exercises such as weight training is crucial. Some tips to remember—avoid exercising the same muscle groups two days in a row, listen to your body and allow yourself to rest in between workouts. And if your joints are feeling extra stiff and swollen, it’s ok to take some extra time to rest. When it comes to strength-training, a three-day a week program is usually sufficient to help you jump-start a regimen that you can stick to long-term and start seeing results.
  • Aerobic Exercises: For overall fitness, aerobic exercise is great for improving cardiovascular health, controlling your weight, and helping you gain more stamina and energy despite your condition. Choose low-impact aerobic exercises that are easy on the joints—walking, cycling, swimming, or using an elliptical machine. Generally, the goal is to do 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise weekly, but it’s important to listen to your body and do only what you reasonably can. Don’t push yourself too much—the important thing is for you to safely carry out exercises that get you moving.
  • Range of Motion Exercises: These are exercises designed to help relieve stiffness in your joints and increase your flexibility by exercising their full range of motion. Usually, these are simple movements using gentle, repetitive sequences and can be done daily.

Remember, any movement, no matter how small can help if you have arthritis. Aerobic, range of motion, and strengthening exercises done along with your daily activities are essential to maintaining your flexibility and improving quality of life despite your arthritis.

If needed, using compression products for additional support can help when doing these exercises.

Some Tips To Help Protect Your Joints

It’s important that you slowly ease into your exercise routine and that you follow a program that’s sustainable for consistency. Don’t overdo it—especially if you haven’t been active for a while. Avoid overworking your muscles, which can only worsen your joint pain.

Keep the following in mind:

  • Keep it low impact—elliptical trainers, exercising in water, using recumbent bikes—all these help minimize stress on your joints while moving.
  • A hot compress can help relax your joints and muscles, even ease pain before you begin exercising. Remember, a hot pack should be warm, not hot. It should never at any point scald or burn you and should be applied for at least 10-20 minutes.
  • Allow your joints to gently warm up—you can start with range of motion exercises to prime your joints before moving on to more intense aerobic or strengthening exercises.
  • Apply a cold compress after your exercise if needed, this can help prevent joint swelling.
  • Listen to your body and respect its boundaries. Don’t push yourself too much, there will be time to increase your intensity as you progress.

Dr. Arthritis Asks: Do You Experience Fatigue Because Of Your Arthritis?

Arthritis and Fatigue

Fatigue is an ever-present and persistent challenge when you have arthritis. While it can sometimes be caused by inflammation, arthritis disease activity or pain; it can also be caused by other contributing factors such as limited physical inactivity, sleep disruptions, depression, or weight changes.

Recognizing the possible causes of your fatigue is important as this will be critical to you regaining your vigor and managing your fatigue better, despite your illness. 

Here are some possible causes–

Medication Side Effects

Medications, including those that you may be taking for your arthritis are known to cause drowsiness and fatigue. Some DMARDs such as azathioprine and methotrexate, NSAIDs, blood pressure medication, and narcotic pain relievers are common culprits. Corticosteroids also contribute to fatigue because it tends to keep you up at night.

Limited Activity

Pain is a common symptom for arthritis patients. As a result, arthritis sufferers tend to hold back from physical activity. The more inactive you are however, the more overwhelming the feeling of exhaustion becomes. Unused muscles, including the heart muscle, can weaken, leading to you getting tired faster.

Anemia

Statistics say that up to two-thirds of arthritis sufferers also have a condition called anemia of chronic disease—which is caused by inflammatory chemicals interfering with the body’s natural production of red blood cells. A shortage of red blood cells can cause muscles to get tired easily, which leads to fatigue.

Lack of Sleep

Sleep is a challenge for many arthritis sufferers. The discomfort of swollen and stiff joints, chronic pain, and medication side effects tends to interfere with your ability to get restful and refreshing sleep. Sometimes, it can lead to insomnia that leads to fatigue.

Obesity

A combination of lack of physical activity and medication side effects often lead to weight gain and additional weight problems. This can sometimes contribute to fatigue.

Poor Nutrition

When you’re not getting enough healthy food and fluids, your body could experience vitamin deficiency and dehydration, which could manifest as fatigue.

Depression

Arthritis can take you away from doing a lot of things that you used to love. Additionally, the stress of dealing with a chronic illness can affect your hormones and brain activity that could lead to depression. One of the most telling signs of depression is fatigue.

 

Fatigue caused by arthritis can be unpredictable. It can start any time of the day, can sometimes last from the moment you wake up to when you end the night, an hour, or even for several days. When it does, you feel an extreme, sometimes overwhelming feeling of physical and mental tiredness—one that can’t be remedied by getting more rest or sleep.

A combination of lifestyle changes and medication can help you manage your fatigue better.

Medication

Anemia Medications

If your fatigue is being caused by anemia, additional iron supplements may help improve the symptoms of fatigue.

Sleep Aids

Sleeping pills could help promote better and more restful sleep, particularly if your fatigue is being caused by depression or insomnia. Talk to a trusted physician about what possible medications are available for you.

Vitamins

If your fatigue is caused by a poor diet, it’s likely that your fatigue is caused a vitamin deficiency. Speak to your doctor about it—they may be able to prescribe vitamins or supplements to help fill in nutritional gaps and boost your overall wellness and give you a boost of energy.

Psychoactive Medications

Talk to your doctor if you could potentially benefit from medications that are meant to increase energy.

 

Lifestyle Changes

Incorporate More Exercise In Your Daily Routine

Exercise can help build muscle mass, boost strength, improve blood circulation and flexibility—all of which are known to boost energy and minimize pain symptoms.

Drink Water Regularly

Dehydration is an often overlooked cause of fatigue. Be sure to get your fill of fluids daily.

Eat Better

Your body requires nourishment. Add plenty of fruits and greens in your diet and get adequate protein and healthy fats. Avoid sugary and high salt foods and start your day with meals that include lots of lean protein and complex carbohydrates to serve as a source of energy.

Meditate

If anxiety or depression is causing your fatigue, try meditation to help reduce stress and calm your thoughts.

Support Your Joints

Wearing joint supports and using tools when necessary can help ease the stress on your joints as well as ease the pain associated with your illness, thus helping with fatigue.

Take Breaks When You Need It

It’s important to remain active, but listen to your body and rest when you need it. Rest allows your muscles to recover and refuel for more activity.

 

Do you experience fatigue because of your arthritis? We’d love to hear from you. Join the conversation on our Instagram or Facebook or leave a comment below.

Dr. Arthritis Asks: Do You Take Supplements To Help Manage Your Arthritis?

We try our hardest to manage our chronic pain through various ways. We eat healthy, manage our weight, exercise regularly, we use tools and aids to support our joints if necessary, even seek out support groups who can help guide us through the mental and emotional challenges that come with living with arthritis.

Where do supplements fall in this spectrum of the arthritis sufferer’s dos and don’ts?

Trusted and reliable supplements have shown a lot of promise in terms of helping arthritis sufferers manage their pain, stiffness, and other common symptoms. When used in conjunction with traditional medicine and treatments, it has proven to be especially effective, with a lot of anecdotal support shared by arthritis patients.

If you’re looking to include joint supplements into your daily regimen, it’s best to understand what some of the most popular ingredients can do to help manage your joints, and how it helps control common arthritis symptoms. As always, before you start, please be sure to run it by your physician who can give you more information and also carefully monitor its effects on your body.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Glucosamine and chondroitin are the two components that make up cartilage—the tissue that cushions your joints. These components are naturally produced by our bodies but are also available as supplements and are popular ingredients for many joint supplements.

Natural glucosamine levels tend to drop as we age, so taking a joint supplement designed to replenish it may be able to help keep the cartilage in our joints healthy, and could even have an anti-inflammatory effect. Chondroitin on the other hand has been known to help lower pain and boost joint mobility, thus helping arthritic patients minimize the need to take painkillers.

Collagen

A lot of anecdotal evidence supports the efficacy of collagen for joints. As one of the main proteins of cartilage, collagen could potentially improve symptoms of osteoarthritis by helping your body produce more joint collagen.

Vitamin D

Increasing your Vitamin D intake has been known to help arthritis symptoms, especially for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. Vitamin D aids your body’s ability to absorb calcium, which is critical to building strong bones. Too little vitamin D can cause you to have soft and brittle bones, affect your mood, and even cause chronic aches and pains.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a known antioxidant that helps fight joint inflammation. It also supports collagen synthesis, which is the main protein in bone and joint tissue. There’s also evidence of vitamin C working to control inflammation caused by infection, which has been known to trigger arthritis flares.

Turmeric

Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties and may alleviate arthritis inflammation and pain. It’s a good source of antioxidants that has numerous health benefits, especially for arthritis sufferers.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is also found in the joints, where it keeps the space between your bones lubricated. When joints are well lubricated, it helps reduce and relieve inflammation caused by the wear and tear of cartilage and bone in worn joints.

Boswellia Extract

Boswelia extract has been said to reduce inflammation and acts as an analgesic that may help manage pain symptoms, minimize inflammation, and prevent cartilage loss.

Goji Extract

Foods with high levels of antioxidants such as Goji berries can help fight free radicals and produce an anti-inflammatory enzyme that can reduce inflammation and pain.

Black Pepper Extract

Black pepper is a common household spice that has been known to reduce inflammation and minimize joint pain and swelling.

As we age, we will inevitably experience wear and tear on our joints. That’s not even counting the symptoms of chronic autoimmune conditions that affect our joints such as rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis. A combination of lifestyle changes, opting for a healthy diet, and choosing the right vitamins and supplements can make a real difference.

Again, because supplements could interact with your current medications, be sure to speak to your physician. And if you have any questions, leave them in the comment section below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

 

The Best Compression Gloves For Arthritis

arthritis compression for pain doctor arthritis

For anyone who often experiences painfully stiff and swollen joints on your hands due to arthritis, carpal tunnel or even Raynaud’s syndrome, compression gloves can make living with these conditions easier.

Arthritis is one of the most common disabilities and causes of pain across the world, with approximately more than 40 million people in the U.S. alone suffering from this condition. While there are numerous treatment options available, compression gloves are one of the most effective, accessible, and affordable ways to help navigating day to day activities less painful. So while they’re not a cure, they are a great complementary addition to your current medical treatment. 

Commonly referred to as arthritis gloves, compression gloves help ease the pain and symptoms associated with arthritis and other similar chronic inflammatory conditions. Moreover, carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injuries can also benefit from wearing compression gloves. Keep on reading to learn how you can choose the best pair of compression gloves that suit your needs and lifestyle. 

How can compression gloves help ease pain and joint stiffness?

Compression gloves can help alleviate swelling, discomfort, and stiffness in the joints of your hands in two ways–

First, it can provide warmth and promote overall comfort for your joints; and second, the compressive properties can effectively reduce swelling and joint stiffness by facilitating better blood circulation on top of providing joint support for day-to-day activities. While compression gloves aren’t a replacement for the medical treatment administered by your doctor, they are one of the best non-invasive tools that you can add to your treatment program. However, to make sure you reap all the benefits of your compression gloves, be sure to choose a pair that fits the best. For more details on how compression gloves work check out our in depth blog post here.

What are the benefits of wearing compression gloves?

Wearing compression gloves can help ease the symptoms of painful flare ups associated with joint conditions. Below are some of the benefits worth noting: 

  • Pain relief: The compressive properties of arthritis gloves are great at relieving aches, pains, and stiffness associated with arthritis of the hands.
  • Improve circulation: Compression can help improve blood circulation, which in turn can help reduce swelling. Additionally, the warmth created by the compression gloves can help soothe stiff and inflamed joints.
  • Improve mobility: Compression can help reduce swelling in the fingers significantly and allow greater joint flexibility.
  • Support joints: Compression gloves that are made with thicker material are an effective way to stabilize and protect the joints in your finger.

How can I find the best pair of compression gloves that are right for me?

When choosing a pair of compression gloves, you need to put your lifestyle and habits into consideration. No matter what kind of compression glove you end up choosing however, remember that have to wear them for eight hours straight to get the best results.

With so many compression gloves to choose from, selecting the best compression glove can be overwhelming. To help you narrow down your search, we’ve shortlisted some popular types of compression gloves and outlined their specific benefits and limitations.

Fingerless compression gloves

Best to wear during the day, fingerless compression gloves are great for when you need full range of motion or need to retain a firm grip and use your sense of touch for daily activities and chores. Fingerless compression gloves are also convenient for those who need to type a lot. The downside is that fingerless compression gloves don’t offer as much support compared to full-finger gloves.

Copper compression gloves

Copper infused compression gloves have the extra benefit of providing anti-microbial benefits along with the functionality of a traditional pair of compression gloves. Copper compression gloves are best suited for those who need to improve blood flow and circulation in their hands and fingers to relieve painfully sore and inflamed joints, while having to wear the gloves throughout the day.

Compression gloves with splints

Ideal for people who have weaker hands or fingers, compression gloves with splints are great for providing support, prevent injury and ease pain. The extra support can protect your joints and keep you from sustaining further injury that can exacerbate pain caused by arthritis. However, gloves with splints are not ideal for those who need a high level of mobility in their hands and fingers.

If you are suffering from painful symptoms caused by arthritis or similar conditions that affect your hands such as Raynaud’s syndrome or carpal tunnel, Doctor Arthritis offers a selection of compression gloves designed by doctors and made with the best materials available. Whether you are looking for a pair of full-fingered or fingerless compression gloves, you are guaranteed to find a pair that suits your needs and lifestyle. Shop Dr. Arthritis compression gloves and wrist support today.

The Best Arthritis Gloves to Relieve Painful Flares

arthritis-and-pain-connection

There are more than 100 types of arthritis with the most commonly known ones being rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. While each kind of arthritis can present with different symptoms, all types can affect the hands. Arthritis in the hand can cause pain and stiffness that limits your ability to get on with simple day to day tasks, and over time, the possibility of losing mobility of your hand is also high. This is where arthritis gloves come in, many health professionals who treat arthritis will recommend these specialized gloves to help with symptoms. Since they are a great medical accessory that can go hand in hand with your medical treatment, arthritis gloves can help alleviate pain and gain better use of your hands, while even improving the range of motions for your fingers.

Whether you’re looking for a pair of gloves that can help reduce the pain in your hands caused by arthritis or conditions with similar symptoms that can affect your hand mobility, read on to discover how specialized gloves can help with arthritis and similar conditions, and which kind of gloves are the best pair of gloves for your needs.

How can arthritis gloves help ease pain and joint stiffness?

Arthritis gloves help alleviate pain and muscle aches by applying compression, providing support to the affected area by reducing swelling and stiffness. Especially in the finger joints to relieve pain on top of maintaining warmth and increasing blood flow to the hands and fingers.

In addition to providing pain relief for arthritis-related symptoms, arthritis gloves are also amazing for improving soft-tissue or sports-related injuries due to their compression properties. While they aren’t a cure for hand and finger mobility, they can improve your grip which makes navigating daily tasks easier when you experience a flare up. However, do keep in mind that these gloves are usually designed to be worn for at least 8 hours, so wearing them for 30 minutes to an hour here and there won’t help.

What are the improvements I can experience from wearing arthritis gloves?

  • The compression effect of arthritis gloves can reduce swelling and help with puffy fingers.
  • The warmth and compression properties of the gloves can alleviate Joint stiffness and pain by increasing the circulation in your hands and fingers.
  • Gloves designed to alleviate pain caused by arthritis and similar conditions can also aid in helping improve your grip when you’re experiencing joint swelling or stiffness in your fingers.

Keep in mind that technically all arthritis gloves have compression properties that can help with relieving pain, but some are more effective than others.  However, depending on the severity of your arthritis symptoms, choosing the best pair of gloves that suit your lifestyle will help target and relieve your arthritis symptoms you’ve been experiencing more effectively. You can find gloves on the market with the following features individually or combined together.

  • Splints for extra support
  • Compression properties to help ease pain and increase blood circulation
  • Heated to reduce inflammation caused by swelling and stiffness
  • Copper-infused to help combat joint inflammation

How can I find the right pair of arthritis gloves that are right for me?

Like any medical treatments, arthritis gloves aren’t a one size fits all solution. However, it doesn’t hurt to invest in a pair to see if they provide any relief. Buying a pair of gloves to ease arthritis flare ups on your hands is kind of like finding a pair of shoes that fit just right, you need to shop around to find features that work best for you and your lifestyle habits. We’ve provided some guidelines below to make your search for the perfect pair of gloves easier:

  • Fit: Look for a pair of gloves that fit just right or are adjustable, or else the compression properties won’t work properly if the fit isn’t right.
  • Fabric: Remember when we said wearing your arthritis gloves for a few hours here and there won’t make much of a difference? Choose gloves with breathable fabric for optimum comfort, this ensures that you’ll actually want to wear them. Also, gloves with stiffer fabric have the tendency to limit your range of motion and may get in the way of your day-to-day activities.
  • Fingers: While there is nothing wrong with full-finger gloves, they may make gripping things a little more challenging. The good news is the majority of arthritis gloves are fingerless, which gives you the most freedom when you’re wearing them during the day.
  • Heat therapy: Gloves with heat features are great for soothing swollen and inflamed joints on your fingers.

Here at Doctor Arthritis, we offer a comprehensive selection of premium quality arthritis and compression gloves designed by doctors with first-hand experience in managing pain and inflammation associated with arthritis and similar conditions that affect the joints and mobility of the hands. Check out our range of arthritis and compression gloves today for a non-invasive solution that can go hand in hand with your medical treatment!