Even before you grow older and notice more aches and pains, arthritis is a reasonably well-known diagnosis. Almost everyone has a family member who’s received the diagnosis, but when your doctor diagnoses you with it, it’s suddenly much more concerning.
While arthritis is not fatal, it’s challenging to live with and makes everyday tasks more difficult. However, knowing what it is and learning how to manage your arthritis at home can help improve your day-to-day symptoms.
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What is Arthritis?
Most people know arthritis in its simplest definition: aches and pains. The truth is, though, that arthritis is an umbrella term for over 100 different joint conditions. So when your doctor tells you that you have arthritis, it might not be the same version of arthritis as other family members or friends.
As arthritis affects the joints, you may feel it in your wrists, ankles, elbows, knuckles, hips, and knees. Any place where two bones meet can be affected.
Arthritis can be mild or severe pain. In some cases, pain may vary depending on the temperature and elevation. This is often the case for people who were already sensitive to changes in temperature or elevation. Not everyone will experience arthritis the same way, so it’s crucial to talk to your doctor about your specific case of arthritis.
How You Can Help Manage It At Home
No matter which type of arthritis you have, you can often take medications to help ease the pain and make daily life easier. However, it’s important not to overuse medications. Your doctor should be able and willing to prescribe you an over-the-counter medication to take if your pain becomes too much.
Here are a few other ways to help manage your arthritis aside from over-the-counter pain medications.
Eating healthy can reduce inflammation and result in milder symptoms. Regularly eating foods that contain omega-3 and monounsaturated fats is a good place to start. A mediterranean diet will also provide symptom relief as it’s full of fish, pulses, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Substituting vegetable and olive oils is also a good choice.
Although arthritis may make moving painful, regular exercise can reduce pain and help keep your joints moving. Exercising has many other benefits for your health, but it primarily keeps your joints strong and can prevent your symptoms from getting worse.
Many gyms offer senior exercise classes that are slow-moving but good for keeping your joints and muscles in shape. By working on your range of movement, practicing aerobic activities, and strengthening your muscles by regular use, your joints are less likely to become inflamed and continue deteriorating painfully.
Just doing small exercises every day will be beneficial for your joints. You don’t have to create a long routine or push yourself to work hard. Simply going for a walk or picking up a gentle exercise will be helpful.
Sleep and Relaxation
Pain makes it hard to sleep, but not sleeping enough can worsen your pain. Therefore, it’s vital to stick to a regular sleep schedule to not worsen your symptoms. However, if you find that you’re unable to sleep due to your pain, you might want to consider looking into additional relaxation and pain-relieving tactics.
Acupuncture therapy may be a worthwhile consideration. While you may not notice results right away, it can help ease your pain and have a noticeable impact after a few weekly sessions.
Relaxation techniques such as meditating, and deep breathing can help relax your muscles and alleviate some pain as well. You may also want to consider massage therapy to prevent symptoms from worsening and further interrupting your sleep schedule.
Living with arthritis means you’ll need to slow down and cut back on some of your daily tasks to alleviate pain and reduce the risks of your pain getting worse. Fortunately, there are ways to manage the pain from home, with medication, or through therapeutic practices. Combining one or more of these techniques can significantly reduce your pain and make living with arthritis easier.