Keep Joints Limber and Arthritis at Bay | Reader's Digest

Keep Joints Limber and Arthritis at Bay

Achieve greater mobility with these quick tips.

from Stealth Health

9. Enhance the range of motion in your wrist with this exercise. Slowly bend your wrist backward and forward, holding for a 5-second count in each position, suggests Dr. Herron. Do three sets — 10 times for each hand — twice a day.

10. Always bend from the knees, not the back, when lifting. Also, keep the weight you’re carrying close to your body, as if you were carrying a baby. This puts less strain on your back.

11. On long drives, pull over every hour, get out of the car, and walk around for five minutes, stretching like a cat. Your back will thank you later.

12. For back relief, get on your hands and knees (on a padded surface) and round your back like a scared cat. Hold for five seconds, then let your stomach relax and sag for five seconds. Do two sets of 10 each anytime you’ve been sitting for more than an hour.

13. Crunch your way through 20 modified sit-ups every morning. These strengthen the abdominal muscles while stretching and relaxing the back, says Dr. Herron. To do a modified sit-up, bend your knees or place your feet on a small stool or chair as you complete the crunch.

14. Serve up some pickled herring for breakfast or lunch. This fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, shown to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain from arthritis and other joint diseases.

15. Play a video game, read a book, or watch a movie when your joints are hurting. Researchers find that concentrating on what you’re doing, whether leisure activities or work, distracts you from your pain.

16. Wear tight-fitting gloves at night. They help reduce swelling and fluid accumulation in the night so your hands don’t ache when you wake up.

17. Take these super supplements:
Ginger extract twice a day. Researchers from the University of Miami found ginger significantly reduced knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, as well as improved how the knee worked. Turns out ginger has some anti-inflammatory effects, just like ibuprofen.

Fish-oil capsules. A British study found that 86 percent of people with arthritis who took cod liver oil had far fewer enzymes that cause cartilage damage compared to those who got a placebo. Plus, they had far fewer pain-causing enzymes. Cod liver oil is a fish oil, so your basic fish-oil supplement will do fine.

Vitamin E containing pure alpha-tocopherols. A German study found taking 1,500 IU of vitamin E every day reduced pain and morning stiffness and improved grip strength in people with rheumatoid arthritis as well as prescription medication.

Glucosamine/chondroitin. Orthopedic surgeons agree that this supplement can provide long-term pain relief and slow the degeneration of cartilage. It has also been found that glucosamine and condroitin can actually repair damaged cartilage. After about a month you should be getting enough pain relief from the glucosamine to stop taking ibuprofen.

18. Quit smoking. Smoking reduces your circulation and that, according to a study in the medical journal Spine, increases your risk for back pain and slows healing.