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6 Easy Ways to Live With Arthritis

Dr. Khalid is a health researcher and science writer with a Ph.D. in clinical research.

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Understanding Arthritis

The structural damage and pain in joints due to their chronic inflammation is defined as joint disease or arthritis. The pain of arthritis can affect one or more of your knee, shoulder, wrist, elbow, ankle, and finger joints. The following major types of arthritis impact the health and wellness of people of different age groups across the globe.

  1. Degenerative/osteoarthritis
  2. Rheumatoid arthritis
  3. Psoriatic arthritis
  4. Ankylosing spondylitis
  5. Gout
  6. Pseudogout
  7. Basic calcium phosphate disease
  8. Septic arthritis
  9. Lyme's arthritis

The comorbid conditions including celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, myositis, scleroderma, Sjogren syndrome, and systemic lupus erythematosus worsen the prognosis of arthritis in a variety of scenarios. Arthritis caused by inflammation develops with one or more of the following symptoms in joints.

  1. Loss of function
  2. Swelling
  3. Warmth
  4. Erythema
  5. Pain

The long-term sustenance of arthritis increases the risk of permanent joint deformities. The pain from arthritis hits the joints in flares and increases its intensity with time. The pain in osteoarthritis usually impacts hip and knee joints, while it symmetrically affects these joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Joint stiffness in arthritis worsens in extreme weather conditions. The patients often experience difficulty walking during the early morning during winters. Some patients also develop redness, warmth, and tenderness around the joints. Arthritis severely impairs the range of motion of joints if left untreated or undertreated for a longer term.

The Possible Ways to Ease Arthritis

Arthritis undoubtedly requires medical attention, and you must not hesitate to contact your health care provider the moment joint pain starts obstructing your daily activities. You should also adopt the following ways to ease your life with arthritis.

1. Define your exercise limits

Arthritis restricts movements of your joints, and that is why extra stress may worsen your joint pain or lead to troublesome injuries. You should refrain from performing rigorous workouts and prefer activities like swimming and walking to stay healthy. You may also wear protective equipment including knee support and gloves for reducing the risk of joint damage due to repetitive movements.

2. Weight management

Weight management is the best way to burn your extra fat and protect weight-bearing joints from unbearable stress. A healthy diet is the safest option to control your body mass index and reduce the risk of obesity. People with arthritis and obesity should look for healthy eating ways to improve their fitness and quality of life. A low-fat diet enriched in HDL cholesterol and essential fatty acids reduces metabolic function, minimizes the risk of inflammation, and improves energy balance. Low-fat foods include green leafy vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, garlic, ancient grains, and lean fish.

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3. Physical, social, and other health-promising activities

Physical and social activities positively influence mood and enhance coping skills to many folds. You should spare time with friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbors to improve your mental health and decision-making ability. Good mental health not only enhances your quality of life and wellness outcomes but also increases your motivation to manage arthritis symptoms. You can adopt one or more of the following measures to improve your mental health and arthritis management capacity.

  • Inculcating positive emotions is the best way to improve your overall health and psychological wellbeing.
  • Regular interactions with family members and friends help improve your distress and self-management capacity.
  • Relaxation techniques like deep breathing and meditation minimize your muscle tension and improve your physical function.
  • Sound sleep for 6-8 hours is necessary to improve your immune system and arthritis coping capacity. It helps reduce your free radicals and improves focus, attention, consciousness, and sense of wellness.
  • Consumption of a nutritious diet is the key to improving your immunity and reducing the risk of malnutrition. A proper diet plan includes green leafy vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy items, nuts, beans, fish, meat, eggs, and whole grains. A balance between a nutritious diet and physical activity is the key to improving your disease-fighting capacity.

4. Physical therapy or rehabilitation

Physical therapy by a registered physiotherapist minimizes your joint pain and helps improve range of motion, stamina, endurance, and mobility patterns. You may also look for the following rehabilitation measures to control your arthritis symptoms.

  • Family education
  • Joint immobilization
  • Psychological counseling for emotional support and stress management
  • Acupuncture
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Massage therapy

5. Modify your habits

You must practice caution while performing your household chores and activities at the workplace. Lifting hefty weights may damage your joints further and intensify the pain patterns. Using an ergonomic workstation is highly recommended to reduce the risk of strain in muscles and joints. You should also refrain from consuming alcohol and tobacco to improve your coping skills and self-management abilities.

6. Heat and cold therapies

The soreness in joints often reduces with the application of hot towels or cold packs. The application of heat and cold helps relax your muscles, relieves pain, reduces inflammation, and improves circulation. The constriction of inflamed muscles via cold packs also minimizes muscle spasms and improves the range of motion in injured joints.

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2022 Dr Khalid Rahman

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