Living Well with Arthritis

Some practical tips for living with arthritis

Arthritis is much more than aches and pains of getting older and it can affect people at any age. In fact, around two-thirds of people living with a form of arthritis are under the age of 65. There are more than 100 different diseases and conditions that come within the group of musculoskeletal disorders described as arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is perhaps the most common form of arthritis. This is a breakdown of joint cartilage often brought on by age, obesity or previous history of joint injury.

Another very common form of arthritis is Rheumatoid Arthritis. This is where the membranes lining the joints become inflamed resulting in chronic pain, stiffness and swelling.

For people with arthritis, daily suffering can be intense because many everyday tasks that would otherwise be painless are affected. Simple tasks that we take for granted like lifting and writing can become very difficult.

In some cases, it can become even more debilitating and every movement might be painful. However, there are ways to manage Arthritis to help keep the worst symptoms at bay. We constructed a short guide below to give you a few tips on how to do this.

Look after your joints

The way you move and how you use your joints can have a considerable impact on their overall health. For example, try loosening your grip when picking something up. Be careful not to drop the object but the point is to reduce the load on the joint.

When possible, you also might want to consider spreading the weight when you pick something up. Using your larger, stronger joints wherever possible will also help minimise stress on them.

For example, if you're opening a door then involve your arms and shoulders, instead of using just your hands.

Stay active

When you're in pain the temptation is often to simply stay as still as possible and hope the pain subsides. However, studies suggest that activity and regular exercise are actually good for arthritis. You should be careful with this though and make sure you're doing the right exercises for your condition and weight.

This can provide considerable improvements but always seek medical advice before starting if you have any doubts. Increased exercise can lead to more energy, better range of movement, increased muscle strength, less joint pain, weight loss and better mobility.

Not to mention that staying active can really help maintain and improve your mental health.

Eat well

Your diet affects every part of your body. A balanced diet will help maintain a healthy weight and provide the nutrients needed to support bones and joints. Omega-3 fatty acids may also help reduce inflammation and arthritis symptoms, so include plenty of fish, such as salmon, or nuts, seeds beans, and leafy greens in your diet.

Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous types also help in the fight against arthritis. Some studies have also shown that olive oil can help reduce pain and stiffness thanks to the anti-inflammatory qualities of olives.

Positive thinking

Positive thinking is a great way to fight any health condition; it's also a good way to combat pain. If you pick something up expecting to feel pain, then it's likely that you've triggered your brain into feeling it. Try using more positive thoughts and practice being in the now. Positive thinking is now being more widely used and researched and can help people reduce the use of pharmaceuticals.

If you're suffering from arthritis, you could also benefit from purchasing some homecare services to assist with day to day tasks that have become too difficult. This will reduce the load on your joints and give you more time to focus on building strength through exercises.