Arthritis is a common condition that affects millions of people throughout the UK. If you have recently been diagnosed with the condition or have been living with arthritis for many years, making adaptations and learning to manage symptoms will help in leading a fulfilling life.
Chronic pain can be highly distressing. However, should you utilize any of our points below into your routine, they can go a long way in easing suffering and keeping a smile on your face.
The first step towards better management of arthritis is understanding the condition inside out. Arthritis is an umbrella term that covers over 100 different conditions. Many of these conditions can cause pain and inflammation in the joints. Some of the most common types that individuals experience include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. Understanding your specific type of arthritis, its triggers, and its progression can play a key role in effectively managing symptoms. Make sure to have an open dialogue with your GP or rheumatologist, as they can provide valuable insights into your condition and its implications.
Manage Your Medication
The right medication can provide a ton of relief from arthritis symptoms. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are medications you can take for arthritis. Just make sure you’re always taking your medication as directed by your doctor. If you notice any side effects, you must report them immediately. Pharmacists can offer advice on over-the-counter medications and supplements that may complement your treatment.
Although arthritis may discourage physical activity, studies prove that exercise is highly beneficial for arthritis sufferers. We’re not saying you have to head to a gym and hit the treadmill either. Instead, low-impact activities like swimming, walking, or cycling can all reduce stiffness, boost mobility, and strengthen muscles around the joints. Incorporate both strength and aerobic training exercises into your routine. You may wish to work with a physiotherapist who can develop a personalised plan tailored to your needs.
Following a balanced diet is essential for overall health, especially for those living with arthritis. Eating more salmon and mackerel is key as they’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are known to reduce inflammation. Eating your 5 fruit and vegetables a day can also prove beneficial for arthritis and its symptoms. It’s recommended to avoid processed foods as they often contain ingredients that can exacerbate inflammation and worsen symptoms.
Change Your Car
For most of us, driving provides the most independence and freedom in life. If you have arthritis and have an increase of inflammation in the joints, many doctors will advise the use of a wheelchair. Thankfully, there are wheelchair accessible vehicles you can purchase, allowing you to drive and be in a vehicle that accommodates your condition. Allied Mobility have a plethora of used wheelchair accessible vehicles that are RAC approved. As they’re second-hand, you won’t have to worry about paying a fortune out on one either.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Keeping to a healthy weight can radically lower the strain on your joints, especially your knees. Even small weight losses can improve arthritis symptoms. It’s advised to speak to a dietitian who can draw up a healthy, sustainable weight loss plan if you’re overweight or obese. When you start shedding the pounds, you need to continue on your journey. Unfortunately, some people go back to their old eating habits once they’ve hit their target weight range to find the weight creeps back on.
Use Assistive Devices
Assistive devices can make daily activities easier and less painful for those living with arthritis. Tools like grabbers, jar openers, and specially designed kitchen utensils can make an enormous difference and mean those with arthritis don’t have to lean on loved ones for help. Mobility aids like a walking stick or frame can provide additional support when needed. You can work with an occupational therapist too who can recommend appropriate devices and techniques to simplify day-to-day tasks.
Look After Your Mental Wellbeing
As well as the physical symptoms of arthritis, living with the condition can be emotionally crippling. This means some sufferers may experience feelings of sadness and frustration. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings but seek help when necessary. When it comes to coping strategies, some arthritis sufferers find CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) useful. Don’t forget that you also have the option to join a support group that can offer comfort and understanding to those experiencing similar challenges.
Living with arthritis does require adjustments and lifestyle changes. However, no one is saying the condition has to confine you. By understanding and accepting your condition, as well as exercising regularly, eating better, and maintaining a healthy weight, these practices can help in dealing with symptoms and pain and most importantly, help you to achieve a fulfilling and active life.