The pain of arthritis can become debilitating. For some, it leads to an increase in medications and over-the-counter remedies that can lead to an increase in the risk of falling. These types of medications include painkillers and antidepressants. According to an article in the New York Times, a common-denominator in drugs that increase the risk of falling includes those that depress the central nervous system. These types of drugs make people less alert and slower to react. Even over-the-counter medications such as sleep-aids may cause an increased susceptibility. Alternative therapies, on the other hand, offer pain reduction without the potential side effects. Scientists evaluated 21 alternative medicines and rated each according to the relief from pain and disability. Here are the four therapies that proved most effective.
This alternative medicine that has been used for thousands of years in China and Japan, rated a top score when it comes to helping with the pain of osteoarthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, Gareth Jones, one of the leading researchers, made this statement: “There’s an argument that maybe this should be part of conventional medicine.”
Massage therapy not only relaxes tight muscles and reduces the stiffness in sore joints, it also reduces stress and promotes a better night’s sleep. A study conducted at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey compared two groups of individuals with osteoarthritis—one of which received two Swedish massage treatments per week for eight weeks. The massage group reported “significant improvements in knee pain, stiffness, function, range of motion and walking,” according to the Arthritis Foundation.
Tai chi is an ancient gentle form of Chinese martial arts. If you’ve seen people in the park moving in unison in flowing, rhythmic motion, you have probably witnessed tai chi. It has proven helpful for dealing with degenerative joint disease, increasing balance as well as muscle strength. It is also a relaxing exercise that reduces stress and incorporates mindful awareness into its practice.
Yoga has been in existence for over 5,000 years. Recent studies show that yoga can reduce pain in people that suffer from arthritis. In addition, it increases muscle strength and improves balance. A study, published in Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America, reported that thousands of individuals in clinical trials from 1980 to 2010 reported reduced disability and lessening of swollen joints and pain when participating in the exercise. There are over 100 different types of yoga. Choose one that is geared towards the elderly suffering from arthritis.
Senior Care Provider
A senior care provider is a good addition to your list of beneficial services that can support a parent with arthritis. The pain of arthritis can lead to difficulty completing the everyday tasks of living such as preparing meals, dressing and bathing. A senior care provider can assist with these activities as well as provide transportation to alternative therapy sessions and offer one of the most important aspects of a balanced life—companionship.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Middleburg, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.