Arthritis affects around 10 million people, young and old, in the UK.
Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are the two most common types of arthritis, and symptoms include inflammation in and around the joints, warm, red skin over the affected joint, and weakness and muscle wasting.
Some of the most commonly affected joints are those in the hands, spine, knees and hips, but arthritis can also manifest itself in a person’s shoulders.
Many cases of shoulder pain aren’t caused by anything serious, and will ease within two weeks, but Arthritis Research UK recommends five exercises to help get rid of discomfort.
Stand in a doorway with both arms on the wall slightly above your head. Slowly lean forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your shoulders. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat three times.
The research charity advises: “This exercise isn’t suitable if you have a shoulder impingement.”
Door press (a)
Stand in a doorway with your elbow bent at a right angle and the back of your wrist against the door frame. Try to push your arm outwards against the door frame. Hold for five seconds. Do three sets of 10 repetitions on each side.
Door press (b)
Use your other arm and, still with your elbow at a right angle, push your palm towards the door frame. Hold for five seconds. Do three sets of 10 repetitions on each side.
Stand with your good hand resting on a chair. Let your other arm hang down and try to swing it gently backwards and forwards and in a circular motion. Repeat about five times.
The charity adds: “Try this two to three times a day.”
Stand and raise your shoulders. Hold for five seconds. Squeeze your shoulder blades back and together and hold for five seconds. Pull your shoulder blades downward and hold for five seconds. Relax and repeat 10 times.
What you eat can impact your arthritis – certain foods may not only increase inflammation, it can also set you up for other chronic conditions such as obesity, which can also affect arthritis.
Research from Germany suggests that eating a bowl of muesli every morning can make bones stronger and could help prevent certain types of chronic inflammatory arthritis later in life.
The study was published in the journal Nature Communications and found that eating a diet rich in fibre can help chronic inflammatory joint diseases, musculosketal conditions and help build stronger bones.
Dr Mario Zaiss, the study’s lead researcher, said: “Our findings offer a promising approach for developing innovative therapies for inflammatory joint diseases as well as for treating osteoporosis, which is often suffered by women after the menopause.
“We are not able to give any specific recommendations for a bacteria-friendly diet at the moment, but eating muesli every morning, as well as enough fruit and vegetables throughout the day, helps to maintain a rich variety of bacterial species.”
Researchers said the molecules in gut bacteria, which aid our metabolism, can affect the entire immune system.
That could have an effect on inflammatory autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
So eating a healthy, balanced diet that is rich in fibre and gut-friendly, anti-inflammatory options, could positively change the bacteria in the gut.
That could then help quell inflammation and positively impact the immune system.
Other foods that could ease arthritis pain include garlic.