Arthritis pain: Going, going, gone

September 15, 2010

If arthritis doesn't scare you, then this statistic should: the government says one-out-of-every-five Americans has been diagnosed with arthritis. That's 46 million people. Even worse, that number could balloon to 67 million in the next 20 years.

Fixing lunch is tough for Heidi McIntyre.

"Well, it's, very painful. My hands are very stiff, especially in the morning," she said.

She developed arthritis at 15 years old.

"It can be a dull pain, a sharp piercing pain. It's not always the same."

Her range-of-motion is down to near zero.

"People with arthritis have a reduction of about a third to one half of their functional capability," said Brad Fain, research scientist, Georgia Tech Institute of Technology, Atlanta.

Studies show listening to classical music one hour per day can soothe the pain. Patients claim the music distracted them from their aching body.

You also need to get outside. A new study of 9,000-plus rheumatoid arthritis cases found a large portion located in New England. Lack of sunshine there may lead to vitamin D deficiency, which may lead to arthritis.

Outside, some drugs can boost your sensitivity to sunlight. So wear SPF 30 or 45 sunscreen when you go outdoors.

At home, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, sardines and tuna may reduce inflammation. Foods like turkey, bacon and liver may trigger pain.

Heidi also keeps grip-friendly lids around the house.

"If you can make daily tasks a little bit easier, I mean, that's a victory for us all," Heidi said.

Another thing for arthritics to avoid: the liquor aisle in the grocery store. Liquor can boost the level of "uric acid crystals" in your joints - which can trigger painful flare-ups.

For More Information, Contact:

Arthritis Foundation

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