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Activity modification key to managing arthritis pain

March 11, 2013

Arthritis in the knee is often cited as one of the biggest obstacles to independent living. Not only is the condition common, it is also progressive and in most cases incurable. As such, it may seem like seniors are at the mercy of the pain and discomfort it causes. While it may be a challenge, there are some steps older adults can take to help manage the condition, The New York Times reports.

One of the most effective routes for seniors to take is to slightly modify their lifestyle. For instance, seniors who are used to running or jogging everyday may want to think about getting their exercise in a different way. Reducing impact on the knee is what's most important, experts say, so activities such as cycling or using the elliptical are good substitutes. Going to the pool is also a smart idea.

"Water aerobics are also very good, especially for people who are older or overweight," Dr. Michael Parks, an orthopedic surgeon, told the Times. "The buoyancy of the water unloads the knee."

Whatever kind of physical activity one chooses will offer considerable benefits. In fact, exercising is among the best practices for older adults battling arthritis pain, notes the Mayo Clinic. However, there are a few other steps seniors can take to reduce the discomfort caused by the condition. Specifically, dietary changes have proven to be effective.

Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to offer benefits for a host of health conditions, are helpful when it comes to arthritis pain. Found in oily fish, fruits, vegetables and legumes, the nutrients may help reduce inflammation, which is often tied to arthritis pain.