Can you avoid arthritis?

Photo of clouds illustrates how an active life with regular exercise can help you avoid arthritis as you age.

Arthritis is a prevalent condition that affects many people, especially as they age.

Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling can lead to discomfort and reduced mobility, making it difficult to enjoy daily activities.

However, contrary to popular belief, arthritis is not an inevitable part of aging. There are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing arthritis and avoid arthritis pain.

One form of degenerative joint disease, known as osteoarthritis, is more likely to occur as a person gets older. It is basically just worn-out joints. Osteoarthritis is most commonly seen among people over 50, particularly women.

However, scientists do not know precisely why some people are more prone to joint inflammation and pain with age than others. But about 12 percent of osteoarthritis cases are a result of joint injuries, such as meniscus or ligament tears, from when they were young.

Family history

Arthritis is also more common among people who have a family history of the condition, or who have certain chronic conditions such as obesity, heart disease, or diabetes.

Preventing arthritis later in life should begin many years before it is a concern. Taking steps to prevent joint injuries during sports or exercise, and recovering properly when they occur can reduce your risk.

For those who are not at risk of developing sports-related injuries, staying physically active and maintaining a healthy weight can help to prevent excessive wear and tear of your joints and reduce pain if arthritis sets in later in life.

Regular exercise

In a 2015 review of 44 clinical trials, researchers found that participants who exercised regularly had reduced knee pain related to osteoarthritis and improved physical function and quality of life.

Low-impact exercise, such as a stationary bicycle where your knees, hips, and joints aren’t receiving so much impact, is recommended. Strengthening muscles such as the quadriceps and hamstrings helps to support the joints.

In addition to regular exercise, supportive knee or ankle braces, over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, or steroid injections into a problematic joint can help relieve joint pain to varying degrees.

Nutritional supplements

Dietary supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, or herbal remedies such as Boswellia, may help relieve symptoms for some people.

Clinical trials have produced mixed evidence on their effects, however, it is unusual for these supplements to be harmful.

So they may be worth trying to see if they help you.

Reduce risk

Finding ways to live a pain-free, active, and healthy lifestyle is the best way to reduce your risk of developing arthritis later in life.

Many of the actions also reduce the risk for other chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.

Not every option works for everyone, so it’s essential to explore and find what helps you to stay active.

Dr. John Sarno

Dr. John Sarno’s approach was primarily focused on the idea that psychological factors can contribute to physical pain, including arthritis.

According to his theory, repressed emotions, such as anger or anxiety, can manifest as physical symptoms, including joint pain.

Dr. Sarno believed arthritis and other physical conditions are often misdiagnosed and can be treated through the resolution of emotional issues rather than through traditional medical approaches.

Alleviate symptoms

By identifying and addressing the emotional root cause of the pain, the physical symptoms may be alleviated.

Dr. Sarno’s approach involves educating people about the mind-body connection and techniques to help them become aware of and address their emotional issues. These techniques can include journaling, relaxation exercises, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Sarno Clinic advances the Dr. John Sarno method for healing arthritis pain.