- Poor circulation can worsen the symptoms of arthritis, causing joint inflammation, degeneration, and muscle weakness.
- The human circulatory system comprises the heart, blood vessels, and blood.
- Exercise, massage therapy, and hot/cold treatments can help improve joint circulation.
- Supplementing with glucosamine and chondroitin may promote healthy joint tissue, while lymphatic drainage massage can help improve circulation.
- Keeping a healthy circulatory system includes seeing a chiropractor, exercising regularly, eating a nutritious diet, and taking supplements.
Arthritis is a common condition that can cause pain and joint stiffness. While many factors can contribute to arthritis, one that is often overlooked is circulation. Your circulation plays a vital role in your body’s ability to heal and maintain healthy tissue; when it’s compromised, the symptoms of arthritis can become more severe. Here’s what you need to know about circulation, how it affects your arthritis, and how to manage it.
The Human Circulatory System
The human circulatory system, or cardiovascular system, is a complex network of organs, blood vessels, and the heart for transporting oxygen, nutrients, hormones, and other essential substances. It plays a vital role in maintaining homeostasis and delivering oxygenated blood to tissues while removing waste products.
The main components of the human circulatory system are:
The heart acts as a pump, propelling blood throughout the body. It has four chambers that contract and relaxes in a coordinated manner to pump blood effectively.
The circulatory system includes three types of blood vessels:
- Arteries: These blood vessels direct blood away from the heart and to organs.
- Veins: Veins transport deoxygenated blood from the organs and tissues to the heart.
- Capillaries: Capillaries are vessels that lead to the arteries and veins. They allow for exchanging oxygen, nutrients, and waste products between the blood and surrounding tissues.
Blood is a specialized fluid that circulates within the cardiovascular system. It consists of plasma (a liquid component) and various cellular elements, including red blood cells (erythrocytes) that carry oxygen, white blood cells (leukocytes) that fight infections, and platelets (thrombocytes) involved in clotting.
Here are different ways your circulatory system can affect your arthritis:
When your circulatory system isn’t functioning correctly, blood flow to your joints can be reduced, leading to inflammation. This inflammation can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints, making arthritis symptoms worse. Exercise, massage, and hot/cold therapy can help improve circulation to the joints.
Your body needs constant nutrients to repair and maintain healthy joint tissue. When circulation is poor, these nutrients can’t be delivered efficiently, leading to joint degeneration. Supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin, which are cartilage components, can help support healthy joint tissue.
The muscles surrounding the joints are responsible for providing support and stability. Poor circulation can cause muscle weakness, making it more difficult for the muscles to support the joints properly. Strength training exercises can help to counteract muscle weakness and improve circulation.
Poor Lymphatic Drainage
The lymphatic system helps to remove waste products from the joints and other tissues. When circulation is poor, lymphatic drainage can be compromised, leading to a buildup of waste products and inflammation. Lymphatic drainage massage can help to improve circulation and promote healthy lymphatic function.
Arthritis can irritate the nerves surrounding the joints, causing pain and discomfort. Poor circulation can worsen nerve pain by reducing blood flow to the affected area. Acupuncture and other alternative medicine may help improve circulation and reduce nerve pain.
Thankfully, there are various ways you can manage arthritis by having a healthy circulatory system. Here are four ways to keep a healthy circulatory system.
It’s good to know someone who can induce better blood flow in your body through physical means. An experienced local chiropractor can do this for you. They can use various techniques to adjust the spine and other joints, helping promote better circulation.
Regular exercise can help improve overall circulation by increasing blood flow to all body parts. Walking, swimming, jogging, biking, and yoga are great forms of low-impact exercise that can help increase circulation.
Your diet plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy circulatory system. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, sardines, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and chia seeds, can help support healthy circulation. Other beneficial foods for circulation include dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach; beets; garlic; citrus fruits; nuts and seeds; and avocados.
Certain supplements can help support healthy circulation as well. Vitamin B complex, fish oil, Coenzyme Q10, turmeric, and Hawthorn berry are all known to promote healthy circulation. Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements to ensure they’re safe.
It’s essential to maintain a healthy circulatory system if you have arthritis. Poor circulation can exacerbate the symptoms of arthritis, making it harder to manage. Fortunately, you can improve your circulation in several ways—from seeing a chiropractor and exercising regularly to eating a nutritious diet and using supplements—all of which can help support the health of your joints and reduce pain from arthritis.