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Leading Rheumatologist Offers Tips for Natural Relief From Arthritis Pain

Over the past few months, millions of American arthritis sufferers have been forced to find alternatives to medication for their pain to avoid potentially deadly side effects. Soon after prescription medications Vioxx and Bextra were taken off the market for their potential cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health risks, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned of similar risks associated with popular over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. Despite these developments, arthritis sufferers can achieve pain relief by adapting simple lifestyle changes into their daily routines.

"This is a frustrating time for arthritis patients. After learning about the potential outcome of taking various pain relieving medications, many patients are left searching for a safe yet effective means of relieving their condition," said Keith Reich, D.O., a board certified rheumatologist and a contributing editor to OurHealthNetwork.com. "However, I've seen first-hand that non-surgical and natural approaches to pain relief can be very successful. Sufferers should know that medication is not the only option."

Dr. Reich offers the following six considerations for natural arthritis pain relief:

1. Exercise. Everyone needs to exercise, but not all exercises are appropriate for those afflicted with arthritis. It is important to engage in exercises that will strengthen the muscle, but not irritate the joint. For example, walking is an excellent exercise for arthritis sufferers. However, if a patient's knees become sore with walking; bicycling, arm exercises or walking in a pool can also be beneficial.

2. Balance exercises. Tai Chi and water aerobics are types of balance exercises that can be effective without adding much pressure to joints. But, take it easy. If joints hurt after exercising, they were probably overexerted. If the pain persists over the next few days, a physician should be consulted.

3. Weight control. Every ten pounds of weight gained is equal to 30 pounds of pressure on the knees. Thus, losing ten pounds is the same as removing 30 pounds of pressure on a patient's knees.

4. Heat/cold. Using ice packs can reduce acute pain while heat loosens joints and increases blood flow. Try sitting in a whirlpool before exercising and icing an irritated spot after exercising to provide soothing relief.

5. Attitude/education. It is important to have a positive attitude when living with arthritis. In addition, sufferers should educate themselves as much as possible regarding their condition. Learn about new developments, read up-to-date materials and ask questions of health experts or a personal physician.

6. Assistive devices. Anything that makes completing a daily task easier is considered an assistive device. These devices can help to reduce discomfort and disability. In addition, they can also help people with arthritis become more functional by reducing their dependence upon others. For example, the Foot Funnel, a modern day type of shoe horn, is an assistive device that Dr. Reich recommends for those patients who have difficulty putting on their shoes. Other helpful examples include cervical pillows, custom-made foot orthotics and canes. All of these products, and other assistive device products, are available on OurHealthNetwork.com.

Dr. Reich advises that with any new regimen, patients work with their personal physician to set up a plan that is suitable for their abilities and limitations. Additional tips from Dr. Reich on arthritis relief can be found at OurHealthNetwork.com.

About Dr. Keith Reich

Dr. Keith Reich, a graduate of Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, is a board certified internist and rheumatologist. Dr. Reich joined OurHealthNetwork.com in 2005 and serves as a contributing editor. Dr. Reich completed his internal medicine residency at the University of Medicine of Dentistry of New Jersey and fellowships in rheumatology at St. Vincent Hospital and the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Dr Reich is active in clinical research and lectures nationally teaching other physicians the art and science of rheumatology. He is a fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Internists and the American College of Rheumatology.

About OurHealthNetwork.com

OurHealthNetwork.com provides reliable information about many common medical conditions, and is a convenient source for affordable high-quality healthcare products frequently not available to consumers in drug stores. Since being founded in 1999 by Dr. Paul Kasdan, OurHealthNetwork.com has helped thousands of visitors a day from all 50 U.S. states and more than 30 other countries around the world ease their pain. For more information, visit http://www.ourhealthnetwork.com.