More than 54 million people in the United States have arthritis. It’s the leading cause of pain and disability as joints begin to ache, swell, and become stiff. As you search the internet for tips to reduce your arthritis symptoms, you’ll find a lot of advice on exercises, medications, and stress relief. If you don’t know where to start, here are the do’s and don’ts of dealing with arthritis.
Do: Your Research
Arthritis will be much easier for you to manage if you do your research and understand what your condition is. There are different types of arthritis, like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, so it’s important that you know which type you have and what joints are damaged.
Don’t: Ignore Your Pain
It can be hard to accept a condition like arthritis, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore your pain. Ignoring severe and prolonged arthritis can worsen your pain and damage your joints if it goes untreated. Talk with a doctor about your pain as they can help find you the right treatment method.
Do: Talk With Your Doctor About a Medication Plan
There are many medications that can relieve arthritis pain. However, no medication is completely free of side effects, so it’s crucial that you talk with your doctor about the medications you should be taking for your specific condition. If over-the-counter medications don’t work for you, please consult your doctor.
Don’t: Ignore Your Mental Health
As it becomes harder to do everyday activities, you may become discouraged or depressed. Having hopeless thoughts, fear of the feature, and being stressed is very common in arthritis patients. Arthritis is known to have a negative impact on patients’ mental health. There are many therapeutic methods that can help relieve pain and negativity, such as, cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation therapy, acupuncture, heat and cold, and massage.
Smoking is commonly used as a coping mechanism, but it’s counterproductive when it comes to your health. The toxins in tobacco cause stress on connective tissues, which then can cause more joint and pain problems.
Do: Stay Active
You’ll want to keep your joints moving throughout the day. Give your body a few minutes to stretch and move your joints using their full range of motion. Overall movement can decrease pain and stiffness. Try out low-impact activities like walking, biking, or water aerobics.
Don’t: Over Do It
While it’s important to keep active, you should only be exercising in moderation when dealing with arthritis. You don’t want to over do it on activities that involve high impact or repetitive motion. Steer clear of running, jumping, tennis, high-impact aerobics, and repeating the same movement too much.
Before you head to your doctor, keep track of your symptoms for a few weeks, how long the pain lasts, and what helps to ease the pain. If the doctor suspects arthritis, they’ll perform a series of joint tests and lab tests if needed. Receiving a proper diagnosis is an essential step in getting the appropriate medical care for your condition.
At Prairie Orthopaedic & Plastic Surgery in Lincoln, NE, we take the time to educate our patients on their treatment plans and how to properly manage arthritis. As always, we’ll give you helpful resources and tips for dealing with arthritis on a day-to-day basis. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with one of our providers, please call 402-489-4700. We look forward to meeting with you!