Ouch – just trying to get out of the bed in the morning can be excruciatingly painful if you’re suffering from arthritis. Not to mention trying to do anything with your hands – like buttoning your shirt to get ready for work, then having to sit at a computer and type all day.
Arthritis can cause debilitating pain in the affected joints, oftentimes hindering your mobility. While the cause depends on the type of arthritis you have, treatments are universally the same. Unfortunately, the effects of arthritis are not reversible, but further damage is preventable if you can make certain healthy life changes.
Here are 10 important tips to help you cope with arthritis symptoms and improve your mobility and overall quality of life.
1. Stretch your joints. If you are sitting down for any length of time, make sure that you take time every half hour or so to stand up and stretch out. This will prevent your arms and legs from getting too stiff next time you need to get up.
2. Rest often, and limit repetitive motion. On the other hand, if you are very active, make sure that you take plenty of rests so that you don’t overuse a joint and increase the pain. If you use a keyboard often, enjoy sewing, or if you engage in any similar repetitive motions, make sure that you limit the time that you spend doing so on a daily basis.
3. Adapt your living/work space to fit your needs. Adjust the height of your furniture, or add extra cushioning so that it is not painful to attempt to sit down or get back up.
4. Utilize adaptive devices. There are so many simple devices out there to help those suffering from arthritis. Most of these devices are just an internet search away, available to be delivered right to your door. For example, if you have arthritis in your hands and you can no longer easily open jars or other lids, there is a product to help you do exactly that without agitating your arthritis.
5. Quit smoking. Smoking is not only terrible for your lungs and mouth, it is also damaging to the connective tissues in your joints. Quitting smoking will help to reduce the rate of deterioration of these tissues in joints affected by arthritis.
6. Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, your joints are working harder than usual to support the additional weight, which can increase their rate of deterioration. The additional stress from weight also intensifies the pain in your already painful joints. Talk to Dr. Carroll about setting a healthy diet and exercise routine.
7. Exercise regularly. While it may be painful to move your joints now, if you slowly work out the stiffness on a regular basis, you will eventually have less stiffness overall. Greater range of motion and mobility only comes to those who are consistent. Talk to Dr. Carroll about rehabilitative exercise to help you naturally gain back control.
8. Cut inflammatory foods out of your diet. Since arthritis is an inflammatory disease, it helps to cut out foods that cause further inflammation. While there is currently no particular diet considered best for sufferers of arthritis, there have been several claims of the following foods having negative impacts on individuals with rheumatoid: dairy products, refined sugar, caffeine, meat, and sometimes gluten.
9. Try conservative pain relief methods, such as regenerative medicine. You don’t just have to try to cope with the symptoms or use over-the-counter pain medications like they’re going out of style. Talk to Dr. Carroll about the benefits of PRP or stem cell therapy, steroid injections, and other methods to relieve some of the inflammation in an affected area.
10. Talk to Dr. Carroll about joint replacement surgery. Sometimes conservative methods can only help so much; if this has been determined, you may be a candidate for joint replacement surgery. Dr. Carroll will work with you to determine the best method for joint restoration or preservation.
If you are ready to take your comfort and mobility into your own hands, contact our arthritis specialists in Clinton Township or Harper Woods today by calling (586) 436-3785. At Movement Orthopedics, we are dedicated to improving your quality of life when living with arthritis through increased movement and decreased pain.
Do you know of any other non-surgical tips or tricks for coping with symptoms or improving mobility? Let us know in the comments below!