Arthritis can be a debilitating disease, but with some lifestyle changes, you can relieve arthritis pain and keep it from getting worse. When I was first told I was starting to get arthritis, I made certain lifestyle changes that improved the condition dramatically.
The Different Types of Arthritis
There are many types of arthritis with more than 46 million Americans affected. The common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis with other types being gout, lupus, psoriatic and septic.
Osteoarthritis comes from wear and tear of the joints and being overweight since weight puts pressure on your knees. Osteoarthritis mainly affects the weight bearing joints such as the hips, knees, back and feet, but can also affect the hands.
Osteoarthritis can be caused when the cartilage breaks down and no longer can act as a cushion for the joints. But new studies recently reported by the Stanford School of Medicine found that inflammation can also be a cause of osteoarthritis. Doctors at Stanford believe that the inflammation process occurs early in the development of osteoarthritis.
An article in Rheumatology points out that inflammation is increasingly being looked at as contributing to the symptoms and progression of osteoarthritis.
Diagnosed with Osteoarthritis
When I was younger, I played all types of sports like football, basketball, bike riding and jumping on a trampoline plus working at physical jobs. By the time I was in my early 30s, I noticed my knees and back hurt terribly just to get out of bed and kneeling was next to impossible. I started to think this was normal aging.
At this time, I hurt my lower back and went to a doctor. After an examination and x-rays, I found out that not only had I injured my sciatic nerve, the doctor told me I was starting to get arthritis in my knees.
I had the normal symptoms of arthritis which include pain, stiffness, swelling, and a limited range of motion of the affected joints. My doctor was well versed in nutrition and felt that I could relieve the arthritis and keep it from getting worse by changing my diet, lose some weight and exercise.
How I Treated Arthritis
Since my doctor was well versed in nutrition, he recommended books about how diet affects our health. The first author I read was Dr. John McDougall, who also believed that arthritis was caused by inflammation and could be reversed with diet, so I changed to a vegan diet.
Within several weeks of my new diet, I noticed that my knees no longer hurt. I was very surprised and further visits to the doctor confirmed the swelling and inflammation had been reduced greatly. I then added stretching and exercise, plus I lost some excess weight.
I have continued to experiment with my diet for the past 20 years and found that certain foods will cause my arthritic knees to hurt again. For me, sugar, white processed flour and processed foods seems to be the worst. Because of my change in diet, I have never needed any medication for the arthritis or other types of therapy other than occasionally taking ibuprofen.
Some will disbelieve that a change in diet can relieve arthritis and improve health, but for me it ended the pain and has continued to keep arthritis from progressing. I have changed my vegan diet over the years to include fish and grass-fed beef, which are both high in omega-3 fatty acids.
More health articles from Sam Montana:
- My Experience with Sciatica
- How My Health Improved When I Stopped Eating Fast Food
- Five Core Strengthening Exercises for Good Fitness