Arthritis is a painful and debilitating condition that affects approximately 350 million people around the world.1 In the U.S. alone, at least 23 percent of adults have some form of arthritis, which is a leading cause of disability.2 Many people do not understand how to properly manage their symptoms, which can make arthritis feel unbearable in daily life. Here are five helpful tips for managing arthritis pain and coping with this disease around the house and in the workplace.
1. Wear Supportive Shoes
Arthritis sufferers often feel like the damage to their body has already been done and that the shoes they wear don’t really matter. But this is a mistake because flat, flexible shoes can actually reduce the force exerted on one’s joints.3 This is an important modification for people who experience arthritis in the knees and hips. However, choose sneakers with closed toes and arch support over flip-flops.
2. Use Special Tools at Home and Work
Daily tasks like cooking and opening doors can be difficult for people with arthritis. And arthritis sufferers who work often have trouble with computers, industry tools, and factory equipment. Fortunately, there are many products available at hardware and medical supply stores to help arthritis sufferers with daily tasks.4
These are some devices to consider using around the home and at work to make tasks easier:
- Zipper pulls
- Buttoning aids
- Electric can openers
- Tub bars and handrails
- Adjustable height chairs and desks
- Wide key holder for the car
3. Try Topical Creams for Quick Relief
Topical creams like JointFlex are able to deliver immediate and long-lasting relief to the site of arthritis pain. It is advisable for arthritis sufferers to keep tubes of cream handy at home and work so that it can be applied at the first signs of pain. Topical creams may also pose fewer risks and side effects compared to oral medications because they are absorbed locally rather than passing through the entire body.5
4. Be Active and Adjust the Diet
One of the best (and hardest) ways to manage arthritis pain is to manage one’s body weight and adopt healthy lifestyle habits.6,7 Activities like walking and aerobics can keep the joints limber and prevent arthritis pain from becoming worse.8 Gardening, for example, can be made easier for arthritis sufferers by using assistive devices like lightweight hoses and kneelers.
Also, some foods are better for arthritis sufferers than others.9 Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish and nuts and may help reduce joint pain and stiffness. Gamma-linolenic acid is another fatty acid that can be beneficial to arthritis patients and contained in plants like hemp and evening primrose.10 Turmeric is a spice that has anti-inflammatory properties that may be beneficial for arthritis sufferers as well.11
5. Learn About All Available Treatments
Just because an individual has been diagnosed with arthritis doesn’t mean that the condition can’t be treated and managed to a level of high-functioning and comfort. Assistive technology and lifestyle changes can help people with arthritis cope with their condition. But modern advancements in medicine have revealed many promising treatments for arthritis that are worth discussing with a doctor.12
These are a few of the many treatments that individuals with arthritis may want to learn more about to better understand their options for coping with the disease:
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- Steroid injection
- Hyaluronic acid injection
- Trigger point injection
- Nerve block
- Peripheral nerve stimulation
REFERENCES for 5 COPING STRATEGIES FOR ARTHRITIS PAIN MANAGEMENT
1. About arthritis and RA. Global RA Network. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from http://globalranetwork.org/project/disease-info/.
2. Arthritis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/aag/arthritis.htm.
3. Find the best and worst shoes for arthritis. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from http://blog.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/shoes-for-arthritis/.
4. Self-help arthritis devices. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/pain-management/joint-protection/arthritis-devices.php.
5. Topical NSAIDs offer rub-on relief. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/medication/drug-types/nsaids/voltaren-gel-relief.php.
6. Intensive weight loss helps knee arthritis. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/intensive-weight-loss-helps-knee-arthritis.
7. Physical activity for arthritis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/physical-activity-overview.html.
8. Arthritis-friendly workouts. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/workouts/.
9. Paturel, A. The ultimate arthritis diet. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/anti-inflammatory/the-arthritis-diet.php.
10. GLA. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/guide/gla.php.
11. Turmeric. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/guide/turmeric.php.
12. Arthritis treatment options. Arthritis Health. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from https://www.arthritis-health.com/treatment.
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