It is not easy getting around it. Arthritis can be a real pain. For patients with this condition, years of having it affect many of their body parts and systems. No matter what kind of arthritis it is, aching joints and stiffness become a daily reality.
There are times that you will experience acute flares from this condition when the pain immediately becomes worse. Fortunately, those flare-up periods are only temporary, but chronic pain can be felt through treatment even after the flares are gone. The everyday activities become exhausting and painful at the same time.
But there is hope, and you will have a chance to manage your arthritis condition. The everyday routines you do to stay healthy are considered the ‘self-management strategies and activities. Some programs recommend this strategy and other ways for managing arthritis and its underlying symptoms.
- Know more about self-management skills
There are programs relating to self-management skills you can join with and learn the necessary ways to manage your arthritis. They can also help you create better decisions about your overall health and wellbeing.
How self-management strategies help the patient with arthritis?
- They feel in control of their wellbeing and health.
- It can manage pain properly and other symptoms.
- They can carry out their daily activities, such as going to work and spending time with loved ones.
- It reduces their stress.
- It improves their mood.
- They can communicate well with their health care provider about their condition.
- It improves their quality of life in general.
- Be active and start exercising.
Exercise and physical activities are the most straightforward and effective ways to relieve arthritis and joint pain that doesn’t need medication. Being physically active can lessen the pain, improve mood and function, and improve the patient’s quality of life. It reduces the risk of developing other chronic pain and diseases like diabetes and heart disease. But if you already have them, performing physical activities can help you manage these conditions and their symptoms.
As much as possible, stay active as your health allows. You can always change your activity or exercise routine depending on the symptoms of your arthritis. Having physical activities is always better than nothing at all. If you are not sure about the kind of action which is safe to perform for people with arthritis, you can always ask your healthcare provider for a recommendation.
Below are the everyday activities and exercises to help you become active.
- Do not sit for long periods.
- Schedule swimming sessions regularly.
- Take a yoga class.
- Try the Chinese martial art ‘Tai Chi.’
- Communicate with your doctor.
If you have arthritis symptoms and sudden joint pain, talk to your doctor right away. It is vital to get an exact diagnosis as early as possible to evaluate your condition and start giving your treatment. They can minimize the symptoms and avoid the occurrence of other diseases that may worsen in the future.
The main focus of arthritis medication is to:
- Reduce pain.
- Minimize joint damage.
- Maintain or improve quality of life.
Besides doctors, you also play an active role in controlling and managing your arthritis. The first thing that you must not forget is to have a regular visit with your healthcare provider to have a recommended treatment plan to follow.
- Manage your weight and diet.
Staying at a healthy weight is crucial for patients with arthritis. For those who have an obese or overweight condition, losing weight can be challenging, but it pays off since you are also reducing the stress on your joints, especially from the hips and knees. Losing ten to 12 pounds can already improve function and pain. So, it’s about time to watch out for your diet and cut down on sugar as much as possible.
- Protect your joints
If you have joint injuries, it can worsen your arthritis condition. One way to manage it is to choose easy activities that can improve your joints like walking, swimming, and bicycling. They have a low risk of injury but will significantly impact protecting your joints and managing your arthritis.
However, there are work and sports-related joint injuries that can maximize the development of osteoarthritis. To lessen its risk and worsen pain, take necessary steps to prevent activities that lead to injuries of the joints or to avoid repetitive motions joint damage.
- Consider lifestyle changes
Do not let stress get the best in you. If you spend your life avoiding activities you love to do because it might give you pain, it can trigger the flare-up of the symptoms and make things even worse. Learn to keep your stress levels in check and apply a more easy-going approach to your life. There’s no sense if you make yourself even worse because it can only cause added flares for things you cannot control.
You might be worried about not wrapping up tasks and activities as more straightforward and quicker like you used to. That is fine. You have to accept that you need more time to get things done. It is the best way to avoid overexerting or overworking yourself. It is learning to pace yourself to prevent flares. It might be frustrating in the first place, especially if you are the kind of person who wants to make things done as much as possible. But, if you don’t take a break between tasks, you will feel the result later. Remember that there is nothing wrong with saving the other functions or activities for tomorrow. It can help you a lot in relieving pain and managing your arthritis.
- Never doubt asking for help
Maintaining independence is important, especially to a person’s self-esteem. However, independence and being alone is also a recipe for disaster. Learn how to achieve the right balance by communicating with your family and loved ones because, among others, they are the ones who can help and support you at this painful time. Let them know about the disease and the limitations it imposes. They can enlist their support if you will only try to ask them for it.