Managing Your Osteoarthritis
Below are some helpful hints to help make living with arthritis a little easier.
Pay Attention to Your Symptoms & See a Physician for an Accurate Diagnosis
If you have pain, stiffness or swelling in or around a joint for more than two weeks, it's time to see your physician. These symptoms can develop suddenly or slowly. Only a physician can tell if it's arthritis. But, "you have arthritis" is not a diagnosis. Ask for a specific diagnosis of the type of arthritis you have. There are more than 100 types, each having different treatments. Getting the right treatment requires getting the right diagnosis.
Protect Your Joints
Avoid excess stress on your joints. Use larger or stronger joints to carry things. Assistive devices can make tasks at home and work easier. Staying close to your recommended weight also helps relieve damaging pressure on hips and knees.
Decide to Lose the Weight
You won't just look better; you'll feel better, too. Why? Every extra pound you carry translates to added stress on your knees and hips. Knees receive an impact of three to five times total body weight when going down stairs so excess weight can mean more pain, no matter which form of arthritis you have. Excess weight can also contribute to and aggravate osteoarthritis, while increasing your risk of gout. A combination of diet and exercise can help reduce your overall body weight and may be the single most effective non-drug method of arthritis pain relief.
Exercise helps lessen pain, increase range of movement, reduce fatigue and increase well-being. Your physician, a physical therapist, or other specially trained health professional can show you range-of-motion and strengthening exercises that are good for arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation also offers water exercise and other classes. Contact your local office for details; you can find your local office or chapter by going to www.arthritis.org
Enjoy Your Exercise
Take the "work" out of working out. Sign up for a class that makes exercise fun - country line dancing, ballroom dancing, swimming, yoga or tai chi. And do it everyday!