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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Take the Stress out of Arthritis

To really feel your best, try relieving the stress and anxiety that add to your joint pain.

By RealAge
Page 1 of 1

Did you know that your emotions can affect your joint health? It's true. Negative emotions like chronic stress, worry, and anxiety not only reduce your quality of life but also may make your joint pain feel worse.
And if you've got osteoarthritis, your body already has plenty to deal with without weathering the added burden of a lousy mood. So the next time you struggle to get out of a chair or mount a flight of stairs, think
Here are a few highly effective stress-quelling strategies you may want to try. Talk them over with your doctor.
Yes, I believe it. After all, I remember all to well, my unemployment, the stress of having more bills than money to pay them, which is especially worse during the holidays. After all, the one thing children understand the most is--"I want ____ and ____, but what they don't understand is Mommy cannot afford, at least with my sons that was a long painful lesson, especially for me, because If I could have afforded to pay them everything they wanted, I would have. I remember how it broke my heart to have to say No so often.

Tools to Help You Cope . . . Not Mope

Massage: If you've ever treated yourself to a therapeutic massage, you already know how wonderful it feels. But it's a top-notch stress soother, too. In fact, studies suggest that massage can relieve both musculoskeletal pain and the emotional stress that may come with it. Massage has even been shown to reduce blood pressure in some people. Just get some input from your doctor first to make sure the method you choose won't exacerbate joint pain or inflammation.
Yoga: Devotees regularly report a sublimely delicious state of deep relaxation after practicing yoga. And studies suggest that the stretching and strengthening benefits derived from yoga -- especially lyengar yoga -- may also help with pain and disability from osteoarthritis of the knee.
Tai chi: This ancient Eastern exercise has long been called a "moving meditation," and although more study is needed, research suggests that tai chi may reduce pain and improve physical function in people with knee OA.
about ways to turn around those feelings of frustration, anxiety, or sadness.
Ah, Yes, Tai chi. I remember my late father, Edward J. Chvosta, thoroughly enjoyed it. After he retired, he took it up and swore by it up and till his death at age 81.
Walking: Don't buy into the myth that regular exercise worsens osteoarthritis. Nothing could be further from the truth. But that doesn't mean you should be playing ice hockey or running marathons. Low-impact forms of exercise, like a brisk walk or a bike ride in the park, will nourish the cartilage in the joints as well as your mood. You need just 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise to up the production of feel-good brain chemicals in your brain.
Ah, yes, my favorite exercise, except in the winter. I am what is called--'A Freeze Baby  ;-)' one who does not handle the cold very well to say the least. Well, not without layer upon layer upon layer upon layer of clothes.
Progressive muscle relaxation: This quick and convenient stress-reducer is especially great for tight budgets and schedules. All you need is a few minutes to ease pain and stress with this activity. And it's free. Use this step-by-step guide to treat your anxiety with progressive muscle relaxation.
Meditation: Research suggests that Zen and other forms of mindfulness meditation may help alleviate chronic pain and the emotional uneasiness that comes from dealing with pain. Here's a quick primer on how to meditate on your own.
Guided imagery: Think of your muscles relaxing and unfurling like ribbons. Guided imagery like this can be a powerful tool in quieting negative thoughts and feelings and replacing them with positive ones. A moment or two each day may be all you need. Find your happy place in your mind, and go there often.
Talk therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy and other forms of one-on-one or group counseling can help alleviate anxiety and depression -- whatever their underlying cause may be. Ask your doctor for a referral.

Take Your Joy Back

Whatever the state of your joint health, your mind is a powerful tool that can help you not only cope but thrive, too. So stay focused on the things that make you feel good, inside and out. If you find yourself struggling emotionally despite your own best efforts, talk to your doctor about your medical treatment options.
Check out this list of 23 daily depression-dashing tools from the YOU Docs.

Ah,yes, relaxation is important, especially in these trying times, especially while facing the stress of preparing Thanksgiving Dinner, which I hope and pray turns out well or at least well enough not to be a disaster, or at least a disaster that can be laughed at. For any and all my fellow Americans who happen to be reading this blog, May I Wish a Blessed Thanksgiving, and hopefully and prayerfully that all goes well.