Find out how to manage arthritis pain with lifestyle choices.
Arthritis in general means inflammation of the joints. However, the medical community uses the word to describe more than 100 rheumatic diseases. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease labels osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as the most common types.
Osteoarthritis can occur as you age or can result from an injury. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your body's defense system doesn't work proper and begins to have a negative effect on the joints. The common thread is pain and stiffness. In addition to following a medication regimen as prescribed by your doctor, you can manage arthritis pain with simple lifestyle choices and changes.
Get smart about getting physical
Although arthritis pain can make moving difficult, exercise, in the long run, will help manage the pain of the disease. Regular exercise can decrease pain while improving mobility and function. Arthritis sufferers with more intense pain should concentrate on low-impact activities such as:
- Tai chi
Step on the scale
If you are overweight, considering shedding some pounds. Maintaining a healthy weight pays positive dividends for those with arthritis. Being overweight puts more pressure on already aching joints.
Do the little things
You can alleviate stiffness by simply moving and moving often. Regularly change your position, move your neck from side to side, move your hands and bend your legs. Conversely, take a break when you may be over-using your joints.
Find a quick fix
There may be instances when you still have pain even after taking medication. Try one of the following solutions:
- Do some stretching exercises
- Place an ice pack on sore joints
- Rest the affected joint
- Take a relaxing, warm shower
Before beginning a new exercise regimen, consult your doctor. To learn more about managing your arthritis pain or how to life an active life with arthritis, visit Oak Hill Hospital's Orthopaedic Institute online or call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5120 for health information and physician referrals.