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News Letter

Home Health Education Living With Joint Pain
Weight Control Can Help You Manage Arthritis Pain Print E-mail

While there is no evidence that being overweight causes your arthritis pain and arthritis symptoms, being above your ideal weight can aggravate the problem. Extra pounds add stress to your already painful joints. Weight control isn't easy, but it is essential to managing arthritis pain.

Watching your diet is a lifelong program. Be wary of any fad diets that promise quick results. The only known way to lose or maintain your weight is through diet and exercise. Speak to your doctor honestly about your weight and arthritis pain. If you need to lose weight, there are many strategies and support groups available to help you lose weight and keep it off.

If you and your doctor decide you should lose weight, start by reviewing your current diet and exercise schedule. You may need to commit to reducing your caloric intake and exercise more frequently.


Exercise not only helps control arthritis symptoms, it will help you control your weight. In fact, exercise and diet are equally important in the process of weight control.

Walking, swimming, biking and yoga are popular forms of exercise for people with arthritis. Some people are still able to play sports such as tennis and soccer. Aim to exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes or more. Speak to your doctor or physical therapist about programs that best fit your abilities and needs.

What Foods to Eat

To be healthy, the key is to eat a variety of foods and to avoid too much fat, cholesterol, sugar and sodium. To lose weight, you may need to eat less in general while increasing the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables you eat. Desserts and sweets should be eaten in moderation. Remember, alcohol is high in calories and should also be used sparingly.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture created guidelines for the public. You may be familiar with this food pyramid already.

  • Fats, sugars, and oils: Rarely
  • Milk, Cheese, and yogurt: 2 servings a day
  • Meat, fish, poultry, eggs and beans: 2 servings a day
  • Vegetables 3 to 5 servings a day
  • Bread, cereal, rice and pasta: 6 to 11 servings a day
  • Fruits: 2 to 4 servings a day

Defining a serving can be difficult. For example, a serving of fish, meat or poultry is about 3 to 4 ounces. You can speak to your nutritionist or doctor about a weight loss diet appropriate for your physical condition and for weight loss guidelines.

Behavior Modification

Some people with arthritis pain eat processed foods that are high in fat and salt because it may be easier than cooking a healthy meal. If you have problems cooking, speak to your occupational therapist about how you can perform cooking tasks more easily. It may be as simple as buying new knives and cookware and setting up your kitchen to be more people-friendly. If you do dine out, perhaps you could order only a salad and an appetizer instead of an entr?e. Or, share an entr?e with a friend.

Weight loss is not easy, but it can make a positive impact in the management of arthritis pain. You should see your doctor before making any major changes in your diet or exercise program. By working together, you and your doctor can find a healthy weight loss program that can become part of your arthritis treatment plan


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