Relax, Recharge and Care for Your Joints 

Self-care is all the rage these days. And for people with arthritis, it is essential. Learn to take a little “me” time and care for your joints after exercise, a long day or stressful situations.

1. Feel the heat
Exercise is one of the best nondrug therapies for joint pain. But sometimes your aching muscles and joints need extra TLC after a workout. Heat therapy promotes blood flow and helps to ease sore and tight muscles. Try heated pools or whirlpools, warm compresses or microwaveable heat packs. Nothing beats a warm bath before bed to ease pain and help you get a good night's sleep.
2. Learn how to chill out
Applying cold to painful joints can also help reduce pain and swelling. Use a cold pack, a bag of ice wrapped in a towel or a bag of frozen vegetables for a quick and easy cold treatment. You can also try an "ice massage" and rub ice directly on a painful joint.
3. Rub on pain relief
If you have mild pain, a topical analgesic that includes ingredients such as capsaicin, menthol, arnica or salicylates can help. Applied at the specific location of pain, topicals don’t cause the stomach problems that can occur with some over-the-counter pain relievers. 
4. Get extra support
Assistive devices such as hand or finger splints, knee braces and canes can help to take extra strain off painful joints.  They can help you to be proactive about protecting joints when you know you’ll have a busy day, with lots of movement and activity.
6. Be mindful
Self-care doesn’t stop at caring for the body; it means taking care of your mind and spirit as well. Meditation has been proven to reduce pain, ease stress, anxiety and depression while improving functional status and quality of life. Once you watch an online video or take a class, meditation is something you can do on your own anywhere. 
7. Flex your mind and body
For thousands of years, yoga and tai chi has helped people to reduce pain and stress while improving mood and sleep habits. These mind-body practices combine physical exercise, breathing and meditation to improve your physical and mental health. Find an instructor who can modify poses for you if your joints prevent you from doing certain poses. 
8. Say no, sometimes
It may be tough at first, but after a while you'll get the hang of it. Saying no to others and to certain obligations lets you say yes to extra time for yourself. You’ll be better able to balance activity with rest when you take control of the pace of your life.  Your joints will thank you.   

Find more ways to ease pain and care for your body and mind here

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