Because of my ripped, chiseled physique and all-action lifestyle, a lot of people are surprised when I tell them I suffered with juvenile arthritis as a teenager (I assume that’s why they’re surprised anyway). It took forever to get any diagnosis, delayed my school football team début, and was generally an all-round pain in the neck…literally.
I still suffer with the odd residual aches and pains now: my right wrist is the latest thing to start playing up (which let me tell you is worse for men, because instead of sympathy all I get is smutty jokes – I’ll let you fill in the blanks yourself). Having a family history of arthritis, I’m always looking for ways to stave off the aches and stiffness, as well as anything that may help my relatives too. I manage my current niggles with a range of methods, but these three top tips have served me well so far:
Cod liver oil: Some swear by glucosamine, but for me, cod liver oil is the one supplement I can’t do without. It’s one of those things that you don’t realise is working until you forget to take it for a few days and you’re suddenly full of aches again. No messing around with the normal stuff though, dig around for the extra strength capsules: 1000mg or no deal!
Anti-inflammatory foods: I’m a big believer in eating the right things for certain conditions. Pineapple, ginger and chilli are all natural anti-inflammatories and even if one day I find out that they’ve only served as a placebo for me, they’ve been damn tasty placebos.
Exercise: Keeping active certainly seems to help. Excess weight will certainly exacerbate symptoms by putting more strain on joints, but I’m also unfit enough to ache for days after a workout anyway, so any niggles are lost in the crowd!
Obviously, it’s not that easy for others who may be older or more infirm. Although I find that I wake up pretty stiff in the morning (and not in any way that can be linked to my bad wrist), people with severe arthritis can ache and be so stiff that they find it tough to get out of bed at all. An older colleague of mine once told me that when she gets out of bed she feels like she’s just done twelve rounds with Mike Tyson, which really hit home the debilitating effect of the ageing process: a prime Tyson would have easily done her in one.
Adjustable beds made with arthritic folk in mind can not only make the process of getting out of bed easier, but also make getting to sleep less problematic if aches and pains keep you awake at night. The right bed can certainly be a wise investment. The average person spends 25 years in bed during their lifetime (you can probably make that 30 if you utilise your snooze button like I do), so it makes sense to ensure that you’re spending that time as comfortably as possible! Try out different beds, mattresses and pillows till you find a combination that you’re happy with.
Any tips for easing arthritic-type aches? Please share them in the comments box below – thanks!