Fight back with cherries
In a 2012 study of 633 people, coauthored by Neogi and published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, eating cherries over a two-day period was associated with a 35 percent lower risk of gout attacks, compared with not eating this fruit. When those who ate cherries took the uric acid reducer allopurinol as well, their risk was 75 percent lower than it was for participants who didn’t have either. More research is needed, “but at the very least, cherry intake in the context of allopurinol use doesn’t seem to be detrimental and may confer some additional benefit,” Neogi notes.
This clinical disorder is marked by muscle pain and chronic fatigue. You can have fibromyalgia alone or along with another condition such as rheumatoid arthritis. Though it’s most common in middle-aged women, fibromyalgia may worsen with age.
“People with fibromyalgia hurt all over,” explains Dallas rheumatologist Zashin. “They have tender points, which hurt when touched, on all four quadrants of their body.” They often have insomnia, depression and other issues. “A lot of rheumatologists shy away from fibromyalgia patients because there may not be a quick solution, and they may require more time during their visit,” Zashin adds.
Fight back with an anti-addiction drug
Some physicians prescribe low doses of naltrexone — typically used to help addicts stay off alcohol and drugs — to fibromyalgia patients. In one study, 32 percent of those taking low-dose naltrexone experienced significantly less pain and fatigue or sleep problems, compared with 11 percent who took a placebo. “Naltrexone blocks opioid receptors; the body responds by increasing levels of natural opioids, helping with pain and fatigue,” Zashin says.
These nasties are hard lumps of minerals that form inside your kidneys and can affect any part of your urinary tract. “They’re kind of like rock candy,” says Marcelino Rivera, a urologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “They’re a crystal that forms in a supersaturated solution.” The more concentrated the urine is, the more crystals there are and the higher the likelihood they’ll form a kidney stone. Older adults are most susceptible because they are prone to dehydration.
Imagine peeing out rock candy. Even small stones can cause extreme pain when they pass through — or get lodged in — your urinary tract.
Fight back with water
“If you can dilute your urine enough, you can dilute those crystals, and that’s going to prevent kidney stone disease,” Rivera explains. To do that, you need to produce two and a half liters of urine a day — which could mean drinking up to three liters of fluid daily. New digital, flexible scopes can remove smaller stones from any part of the kidney; stones two centimeters or bigger require a different procedure. In addition, diuretic high blood pressure meds lower calcium levels in the urinary tract to help prevent stones from forming. And citrates are chemicals that bind to calcium, keeping it from creating crystals.
Blame genetics for these killer headaches. An inherited brain disorder leaves migraine sufferers vulnerable to triggers such as a lack of sleep, stress, hunger, bright lights or even overuse of pain meds. During a migraine attack, neurons are activated, leading to throbbing pain. You may feel sick to your stomach or see flashing lights — the aura before the hurt begins.
Migraines can really mess up your life. An untreated big headache can go on for four to 72 hours; people with chronic migraines endure a minimum of eight per month, with at least 15 total days of headaches. “But some people have a continuous migraine that never stops,” says Teshamae Monteith, chief of the Headache Division and assistant professor of clinical neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
A migraine can feel like an explosion inside your noggin, a vise squeezing your skull or even “like one knife going through the center of your brain in one direction, and another going through in another way. Where they meet is the point of maximum pain intensity,” Monteith says.
Fight back with new prevention drugs
In 2018 the FDA OK’d three drugs — Aimovig, Ajovy and Emgality — that cut repeat migraines by about 2½ per month, though some people get more relief. These pricey (cost: $6,900 per year), once-a-month injectables work in a new way, blocking a peptide that transmits migraine-pain signals. Monteith says they may be an especially good option for older adults who get migraines; other medicines that are used for prevention can cause weight gain, low blood pressure, hair loss, and sedation.
When adhesions develop in your shoulder capsule, they can lead to a painful, progressive tightening of the joint and a loss of movement that can last for months or sometimes years. Frozen shoulder is most common in women ages 45 to 60, says Jordan D. Metzl, a sports medicine physician at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery and the author of The Exercise Cure. Some people confuse early symptoms with arthritis and don’t seek treatment, which is a big mistake. The two crucial differences: First, arthritis pain comes and goes, but this condition comes and stays, often becoming particularly painful at night; second, the telltale loss of movement makes it difficult or impossible to reach behind you for a task like hooking a bra.
Fight back with an easy stretch
“It’s critical to see your doctor as soon as you have symptoms,” Metzl emphasizes. “The deeper you get into the inflammation stage, the longer your recovery.” Treatment generally consists of cortisone shots and physical therapy. Full recovery comes in weeks or months, depending on the severity of your case.
Meanwhile, Metzl recommends the following DIY therapy for better shoulder mobility in the early stage and also for prevention: Stand facing a wall with your palms flat against it at shoulder height. Finger-walk your hands up the wall until you feel a good stretch in your shoulders. Hold for a 10-count, and finger-walk back to the starting position. “You don’t even need a wall,” Metzl says. “You can mimic the motion in the air and it will still be effective.”