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12 of Your Most Pressing Questions About Arthritis Answered

Thursday, March 21, 2019 10:02 AM
Tags: arthritis

By Lauren McRae

There are various different methods of managing arthritis pain. In a chat we conducted with Dr. James GroberDivision of Rheumatology, about arthritis, there were so many questions we created a separate post about the topic. 

Check out the full chat for even more expertise from NorthShore.

Woman in pain

What is the importance of fiber and probiotics in the prevention and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis?
Based on the current evidence, I would say that these probably play little or no role in the prevention and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.  However, regarding lifestyle issues, we know for sure that smoking increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

Should I ice before or after dancing that helps reduce the chance of pain?
Ice after, to decrease any inflammation that might have been stirred up.

Every morning when I get up my knees hurt. What can I do?
You can try doing leg stretches the night before.  Can also try Tylenol XS one or two tabs first thing in the morning.  If these measures fail, see your doctor who might then order  X rays and maybe blood tests.

Is there any exercise I can do that will hurt my joints?
Exercises that involve high-impact or sudden or extreme twisting or rotation action at a joint could theoretically cause joint damage, but not necessarily so. 

Why do my joints hurt more in the mornings during cold winter months than spring and fall?
Don’t know for sure. One theory is that colder weather leads many of us to tighten up muscles and tendons, so this may temporarily affect how the joints operate.

Why is arthritis pain so inconsistent? Sometimes a lot of pain after movement, sometimes none?
Might have to do with the intensity, extent, or frequency of movement.  Also note that there are over 100 types of “arthritis”, meaning that there are over 100 different disorders that can cause or are manifested at least in part by joint problems

Are bananas proven to be a cause of arthritis pain in some situations?   
I am not aware of any evidence to support that.

Is there a climate where those with arthritis can live with less pain?
Many people with various types of arthritis – especially osteoarthritis  - feel better in warmer climates, such as in Florida or the desert Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico).

I recently was diagnosed with arthritis in my right thumb joint. It just started in January. Can this be eliminated with intermittent fasting and a low carb diet?
No, I don’t believe those measures will eliminate arthritis, but it’s remotely possible they may lead to a decrease in inflammation and pain.

What are the warning signs of arthritis?
Note that there are over 100 kinds of “arthritis”, meaning that there are over 100 different disorders that can cause or are manifested at least in part by joint problems.  Pain, with or without swelling or enlargement of a joint, may well indicate that it’s affected by arthritis

How does exercise impact arthritis? How and when should I do it?
If a joint is actively inflamed (swollen, warm, painful), it’s best to avoid exercising it other than doing usual daily activities and gentle stretches or range-of-motion exercises to maintain flexibility. If an exercise causes joint pain, then back off and ease up. “No pain, no gain” does NOT apply to arthritis. But generally speaking, it’s very important to stay active with arthritis, within those limitations.

Can you do anything to prevent arthritis?
You can help to prevent osteoarthritis (the most common type of arthritis) by maintaining a healthy weight or body mass index. Also, if you can, avoid joint dislocations, severe sprains, and fractures that extend to or involve a joint. You can help to decrease your chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis by not smoking cigarettes (which are a proven risk factor). You can also decrease your chances of developing gout, which is a type of arthritis caused by excess uric acid, by maintaining a healthy weight.