Arthritis is a leading cause of pain for many Americans. If you or a loved one have it, you understand the debilitating affect it can have on your life.
Proper management of your arthritis can make all the difference. Here are some do’s and don’ts that can help you manage your arthritis better.
Exercise is a crucial tool that you should have under your belt. It can significantly help reduce pain, increase range of motion, strengthen muscles, and decrease stiffness. However, individuals with arthritis have to do exercise the right way in order for it to be useful.
- Do stretches
- Do range-of-motion exercises
- Do low-impact aerobic exercises
These types of exercises help improve flexibility and strengthen muscles so you experience less pain and can take part in activities you enjoy.
- Don’t run
- Don’t do high-impact aerobics
- Don’t do repetitive motion exercises
These types of exercises will end up further exacerbating arthritic pain and symptoms. Joints become sensitive and when extensive pressure is put on them, they become painful, inflamed, and swollen.
The type of food and drink a person consumes can have an effect on arthritis.
- Do eat vegetables and fruits
- Do eat healthy proteins
Eating a healthy diet can help reduce symptoms because vitamins and minerals help your body stay strong. Protein is essential for healthy muscle-building.
- Don’t eat junk food
- Don’t consume a lot of alcohol
An unhealthy or unbalanced diet leads to vitamin deficiencies that can affect the health of muscles, bones, and joints. Alcohol can exasperate vitamin deficiencies and should be consumed in moderation.
Part of properly managing arthritis is taking the appropriate medications.
- Do take over-the-counter pain medications
- Do take pain medications when you need them
Medication is a great tool that can help you live comfortably with arthritis. Don’t discount over-the-counter pain medications – they are great for mild to moderate arthritic pain.
- Don’t take too much or too little medication
- Don’t rely only on pain medications for pain management
Taking the right types and dosages of medication are crucial to your health. Make sure to talk to your doctor about what medications you should take and follow instructions on when to take them as well as the right dosages.
Taking too little can be ineffective and taking too much can lead to addiction and the risk of overdose. Additionally, pain medications should not be the only pain management tool you use. Physical therapy, ice and heat therapy, steroid shots, and exercise are also great ways to manage pain. Talk to your doctor about creating a useful pain management plan that includes more than just medications to manage your arthritis.
Lifestyle choices can help or hinder your arthritis management. Having a healthy lifestyle can help slow the progression of arthritis and having an unhealthy one can increase pain and deterioration of the joints.
- Do eat a healthy diet
- Do exercise
- Do maintain a healthy weight
- Do try new things
A healthy diet and regular exercise help keep your body healthy. A healthy weight helps reduce unnecessary pressure on your joints. Arthritis can sometimes prevent you from doing things you like – especially if you like high-intensity activities. It can also limit the time and intensity you can put into certain activities like hiking and running. When you can no longer do the things you like, try new things! This means looking for new activities to keep you active and happy.
- Don’t smoke
- Don’t push your body too much
- Don’t ignore your arthritis
- Don’t have a negative attitude
Smoking adds stress on the connective tissue at the joints in your body and this increases arthritic pain. Quitting smoking can help alleviate some of the pain you experience. Arthritis can put limitations on your body and pushing it too much will lead to arthritic pain and increase damage to the joints. Know your body’s limitations and look out for signs to slow down or stop. Finally, don’t have a negative outlook just because you have arthritis. Millions of people live full and long lives with arthritis and although it will bring changes to the activities you do, it does not change who you are.
If you suspect you have arthritis or another orthopedic condition, it’s time to talk to a medical professional who is trained to treat these conditions. The experts at Star Spine & Sport are trained and experienced in treating conditions like arthritis and would love to help you. Call (303) 238-4277 to make an appointment today. You can also request an appointment online.