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Five Ways to Improve Achy Joints

What is arthritis?

Joint pain, stiffness, or swelling that interferes with daily activities could be a sign of arthritis. Arthritis is an inflammation of one or more joints. Symptoms usually develop over time, but they may also appear suddenly. It is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older.

What causes arthritis?

Arthritis is caused by the breakdown of the connective tissue in your joints. This breakdown could be from normal wear and tear, or the result of an injury or disease in the joint.

What are the signs?

Common symptoms include joint pain or swelling, joint tenderness or stiffness (especially in the morning), reduced ability to move the joint, and joints that are red or warm to touch.

5 ways to improve achy joints

1. Eat a healthy diet 

Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce stress on your joints. 

2. Exercise regularly

Moderate exercise can help strengthen muscles around joints. 

3. Make activities in your home easier

 Installing grab bars in the shower, the tub, and near the toilet can make activities easier if you suffer from arthritis. 

4. Reduce pain

Rest between activities, and apply heat or cold to reduce pain and stiffness in joints. Massage therapy and acupuncture may be able to reduce pain from arthritis. 

5. Talk to your doctor

Medications, vitamins, and mineral sup­plements may be able to help. Over the counter medications for arthritis pain relief such as Tylenol, Advil, Aleve, or cream containing capsaicin may be able to relieve arthritis pain. Talk to your doctor about what is right for you. 

 The two main types of arthritis

  1. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is caused by damage to your joint’s cartilage as a result of wear and tear. This can occur over many years and results in pain and decreased joint movement.  

  1. Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack a thin membrane that lines the joints. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown but a combination of genetics, hormones, and environmental factors are believed to contribute to causing rheumatoid arthritis.  

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How Our Plans Can Help

Wellness Allowance

Tufts Health Plan Medicare Preferred plans offer a $300 reimbursement for fees related to a health club membership, fitness classes (such as aerobics, Pilates, tai chi, or yoga), nutritional counseling sessions and other wellness programs like memory fitness activities and acupuncture.

Weight Management Allowance

Tufts Health Plan Medicare Preferred members get up to $150 each year to join programs to help reach a healthy weight such as Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.

Bathroom Safety Equipment

Grab bars can make activities easier if you suffer from arthritis. Bathroom safety equipment (such as raised toilet seats and grab bars) is available to Tufts Health Plan Medicare Preferred members with a written prescription from a net­work physician. Your coinsurance varies depending on the plan you are in.

Massage therapy and acupuncture discounts

Massage therapy and acupuncture may be able to reduce pain from arthritis. Tufts Health Plan Medicare Preferred members can use their Preferred Extras to get a discount on massage therapy and acupuncture.

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