If you’ve ever crawled out of bed in the morning aching as if you’d played a mean game of rugby in your sleep, heard your knees creaking as you descended the stairs or needed two ibuprofen before you could even bend over to tie your shoelaces, then this article is for you.
Making some simple changes to your diet and daily activities – even just to the way you sit – coupled with taking a few key supplements a day, can save a lot of wear and tear on your joints and ligaments as well as reduce your pain. Here are the top tips to help you where you hurt.
1. 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.
2. Empty out any cupboard or shelf below waist level (or better still, ask someone else to empty them for you). You’d be surprised at how much unnecessary bending people do to get at low cupboards. If you have mobility problems, fill the empty cupboards with less-used items, such as the turkey roasting pan that comes out only at Christmas, or dishes that you use only when you are entertaining.
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 chilli sauce on the table at all times.
5. Use a wrist rest to keep your wrists straight, not to rest your wrists on. Resting your wrists on the pad when typing can compress soft tissues – such as tendons, nerves and blood vessels – in your forearms, reducing blood flow to your wrists and fingers. This, in turn, can increase pressure in the carpal tunnel located inside your wrists and ultimately lead to nerve damage. Instead, use the pad only for support during typing breaks. Even then, most experts recommend resting the palms of your hands, rather than your wrists, on the pad to reduce the risk of injury.