Over 15% of Canadians have some form of arthritis, and the rates of arthritis condition skyrocket in the senior demographic; one in three senior men and half of senior women report some form of arthritis. Arthritis comes in a variety of different forms but, it is a condition that affects the joints which causes pain, restricts mobility and diminishes the quality of life. While arthritis can mean any condition which affects the joints, it is typically linked to one of a handful of chronic conditions where the joints swell painfully, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Arthritis conditions have different underlying causes, but you can manage their symptoms with similar steps, whatever the condition is. It is important to understand what arthritis is and identify what treatment is best for you.
The first step to proper management is to consult with your doctor. They may prescribe you medications to treat the underlying condition, and they may advise you to purchase non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs are available over the counter; ibuprofen and naproxen fall under this classification. These drugs perform a dual function, reducing inflammation and providing pain relief. When speaking with your doctor, be sure to go over information about other medications you are taking, as well as to ask about any lifestyle changes you might be able to make.
There are, fortunately, many such lifestyle changes in order to help manage your condition. You might engage in physical therapy to reduce the impact of movement on your joints, helping you alleviate pain. When your condition flares up, you can use hot and cold packs on the affected areas to help reduce pain and swelling. In addition, some people turn to acupuncture to lessen inflammation and relieve various forms of arthritis pain.
It’s important to stay active when you have arthritis, as an overly sedentary lifestyle can aggravate the condition. Focusing on exercise that will help increase your range of motion is a good idea; yoga and tai chi are examples of slow-moving exercises that allow you to activate various muscles and joints gently, at your own pace. Swimming and aqua therapy are also great for gentle movement when you have arthritis; floating allows for a range of movement that might be unavailable to you on land, and many find water incredibly relaxing.
Your diet will play an important role in managing arthritis; obesity can aggravate the condition, so lowering your intake of fat can be helpful. A healthy diet will also increase your energy levels, helping you to cope with chronic pain and boosting your ability to get out and exercise, a key component to recovery. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are great items to incorporate in a healthy diet.
Fatigue and stress are major contributors to the severity of arthritis; pain is more easily managed when you’re happy and well-rested. Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing and meditation throughout the day, and make sure to have a dark, cool place to sleep; consider taking a warm bath and/or using scents like lavender to help you fall asleep. When you find your daily routine is becoming too much to handle, don’t let stress bring you down; hire a Winnipeg home health care service to help you manage activities that might be too difficult.