Coping With Arthritis

Arthritis is a medical condition causing inflammation of the joints which can make life difficult and painful for the sufferer. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, the most common being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Having a diagnosis of arthritis can be life changing but there are ways to cope with this disease to make your life easier. I was recently commissioned by Mobility Plus to give my views on this topic. Let's find out what you can do to cope with arthritis. 

Take your prescribed medication


Medication can help control arthritis and relieve pain. Non-Steroid Anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen are commonly prescribed to help pain relief and swelling and there are other treatments such as steroid injections, depending on the severity of the condition. Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are also used to stop the immune system from attacking the joints. In severe cases, surgery may be advised.Ensure you are your correct weight

If you are over your BMI it can put extra strain on your joints so it's important to be at the correct healthy weight. If you are overweight a slow steady weight loss is recommended, with a diet full of fruit and vegetables, low in fat and salt. A diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to help in the case of inflammatory arthritis, check out the advice by Verus Arthritis for more information.  

Take gentle exercise




You may not feel like taking exercise when you have arthritis, however, exercise can improve muscle strength and reduce stiffness. Try exercise that is low impact such as swimming, aqua aerobics, or walking, and stretching exercises and pilates classes are also useful.  Avoid any high impact exercise like running and repetitive movement exercise like tennis. Of course, always check with your GP before taking any form of exercise if you have a health condition. 

Occupational therapy

Your doctor may refer you to occupational therapy for arthritis particularly in your hands and wrists. Arthritis in your hands can really affect your day-to-day living. Simple things like opening a bottle or turning on a tap can be painful. Occupational therapists can advise on movement without aggravating your arthritis. They can also supply various aids, gadgets and equipment to help with your daily life and make movement easier.

Use appropriate aids


Whether you are supplied aids by an occupational therapist or source items yourself, there are a number of items you can use to help your arthritis. From a can pull tin opener, to an easy grip mug, to a one-handed nail clipper, there are lots of aids that can make your life easier if you have arthritis. Adjustments to your house like fitting handrails to help you get up the stairs, and fitting levers to taps to help you turn them can make a big difference.

In the bathroom, walk-in showers make showering so much easier, without having to lift your legs to get into a shower over a bath. A shower seat for extra safety and handrails can all help you feel safe whilst showering. Walk-in baths are also great to assist you in bathing. 

Support groups

Having arthritis can take a big adjustment, however, there are support groups available to help. Arthritis Care has a number of branches around the UK that provide support and an opportunity for arthritis suffers to meet others.  They also provide self-management courses and workshops to help you improve your quality of life. 

Coping with arthritis isn't easy but with a few adjustments to your life, it can be made easier. 

Other therapies



Alternative therapies can have its place in arthritis care and some people get relief through acupuncture. Massage may improve stiffness temporarily, always tell your massage therapist that you have arthritis. Applying warm heating pads to aching joints may help, just be sure to follow the instructions. 

Coping with arthritis isn't easy but with a few adjustments to your life, it can be made easier. 

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9 comments

  1. It can be a struggle to do things when you have arthritis. Walk in showers are great as they're easy to get in and out of and look good too.

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  2. A lot of my family suffer from arthritis in their hands, and I'm fully expecting to one day go down the same route x

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  3. The doctor told me a couple of years ago I had mild arthritis. It hasn't been too bad but right now as I recovery from foot surgery it's really flaring up, I think partially because I haven't been able to walk.

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  4. I suffer with psoriatic arthritis and I find it so frustrating not being able to do everything that I want to do

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  5. My MIL have arthritis and she's been living with it for decades. It's sometimes a real struggle for her.

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  6. Oh gosh, life must be such a struggle for people.

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  7. Do you know I never knew there where 100 different types of arthritis? I only thought there was like 3 or 4. These are some really useful tips

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  8. I can only begin to imagine the pain and suffering for people with arthritis - very sad xx

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  9. My Mother in law has arthritis so this post is useful. She finds physiotherapy helps her .

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