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Managing Arthritis

Managing Arthritis: Do’s And Don’ts

June 10th, 2022

Imagine your bones hitting one another and making popping sounds whenever you move. That’s how arthritis is and it’s painful. However, it’s possible to live a normal, pain-free life with arthritis, as long as you can manage it effectively. This simple guide contains a few tips that can help you.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is an inflammation of joints in the body which causes severe pain and swelling. There are many types of arthritis, but the most common ones are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. Although there are many types of arthritis, these are the common symptoms:

  • joint pain, especially during movement
  • popping or clicking when a joint is bent
  • reduced range of motion
  • swelling, tenderness, or redness of joint
  • unusual warmth of the affected area
  • fever and weight loss

 

The exact cause of arthritis is unknown, but you’re at risk of having arthritis if you:

  • are obese
  • smoke
  • are over 30 years of age
  • have a family history of arthritis
  • play a sport that strains your joints
  • have an autoimmune or viral disease

 

Arthritis can severely interfere with daily life and productivity. But if you know how to manage it properly, you can lessen its effects. Managing arthritis includes knowing how to cope with the pain, effect a lifestyle change, and knowing the dos and don’ts of arthritis.

 

Do’s and Don’ts of Managing Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition that comes with a lot of pain, and that pain can prevent you from going about your daily activities. However, the pain can be greatly reduced, and you can still lead your normal life as long as you know how to manage arthritis. What you have to do is know the things you should do, and the things you should not do. Both lists have been outlined for you below. Keep reading!

Do’s

If you suffer from arthritis, the following will help you lessen the pain and live more healthily.

 

1. Exercise
Movement can help to relieve some of the symptoms of arthritis such as pain and stiffness. It also helps to increase the range of motion of your joints, increase your endurance, and strengthen your muscles.

To exercise, choose simple exercises that involve the affected joint directly and help to build the muscles around it. Equally important, seek the help of a physical therapist to create an exercise program that suits you and your condition.

Water exercises, walking, and cycling also help manage arthritis. However, you should avoid high-impact exercises like running, jumping, or tennis because they may strain and affect the joints.

 

2. Medication
Painkillers like Ibuprofen, Tylenol, or Aleve can help to combat pain in the joints. But, be careful to not overdose, and see your doctor if the pain persists even after taking painkillers.

 

3. Hot and Cold Compress
Hot and cold compresses can also help to relieve joint pain temporarily. You can use a heating pad, a hot water bottle, or soak in a hot bath to take care of the pain. Likewise, you can use an ice pack to massage your joints. Take care not to burn yourself — don’t use the heat for more than 20 minutes at a time.

 

4. Manage your weight
Another way to manage arthritis is to look after your weight. Being obese or overweight will increase the strain on your joints and worsen your arthritis symptoms. Exercise and a proper diet can help you lose and maintain healthy body weight.

 

5. Use a walking aid
A walking aid such as a cane or crutch can help you take the stress away from your joints, especially from your knees and back. They’ll also help you stay stable and move around easily.

Don’ts

If you have arthritis, these are things you should run away from.

 

1. Smoke
Smoking tobacco increases inflammation. Also, toxins in the smoke cause stress on connective tissues in the body — ligaments and tendons — which increases arthritic pain. Smoke also raises the levels of blood toxins and increases carbon monoxide levels in the blood. These affect joint and cartilage repair, which could worsen your arthritis.

 

2. Food substances that increase inflammation
When dealing with arthritis — an inflammation of the joints — the last thing you want is more inflammation. Pay attention to your diet and avoid foods known to increase inflammation. Some of them include:

  • Sugar
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Alcohol
  • Processed trans fats
  • Vegetable oils
  • Tobacco (smoking)

 

3. Too much rest
Resting all the time and remaining immobile is bad for your joints. Your muscles will become weaker and your joints could stiffen even more. This will worsen the pain of arthritis. Instead of staying in the same position all the time, stand up at intervals and take brisk walks around the house. If the weather is fair, you can go out on a leisure walk and enjoy the scenery. Those simple movements will help to flex your muscles and reduce the pain.

 

4. A negative attitude
Healing starts from the mind and you can only be motivated to manage your arthritis if you have a positive mindset about it. Dwelling on the pain is not advisable because it’ll demotivate you and put you in a perpetual state of worry, anxiety, and fear. This could degenerate into depression and anxiety disorders.

Instead of thinking negatively, do your exercises, adopt a healthy diet, manage your weight, and spend time with your loved ones. If you think you need to, see a therapist.

Arthritis is neither a death sentence nor a one-way ticket to crippling. The key to living a normal, pain-free life even with arthritis is to know how to manage it effectively. Adhere to the do’s and don’ts of arthritis, and if you need help connecting with a doctor, contact us.

 

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