Arthritis is a fact of life for millions of Americans. There are in fact more than 100 kinds of arthritis with more being discovered all the time. Many types of arthritis cause pain, stiffness, and inflammation. The pain and other symptoms may be constant or flare up or happen now and then. You may have symptoms that are very mild to intense and severe. Here is a simple go-to guide to living with arthritis.
Once you suspect you may have arthritis, it is very important to have an exam by a doctor right away. There are some conditions that need to be treated in the earliest stages possible to prevent permanent damage to your joints. Whether you see your primary care doctor or a specialist, your diagnosis and healthcare team will determine a treatment plan with you.
Managing your condition
Most types of arthritis are not curable but by being aware and proactive, you can make the best choices for your health to reduce or eliminate symptoms. Most cases of arthritis do not require interventional treatments. Taking charge of your health will give you the best chance at living pain-free to enjoy your daily and favorite activities for a long time to come. You know your body best, and with the education, you receive from your health care team, you should provide the relevant details of your symptoms when they occurred, and for how long. This information will help indicate whether your arthritis is progressing and if you need a different type of treatment.
Self-care for Arthritis
For all the time that you are not actually at the doctor’s office, there are things you can do to actively manage arthritis and decrease pain or other symptoms.
- … Don’t ignore your body and just plow through with your routine. If you feel pain and fatigue, schedule some time to rest. If you can find small periods of time during the day to rest it will help keep you from being worn out.
- …but stay active. It seems like a contradiction but making sure you use the joints affected by arthritis can increase their strength and prevent stiffness. Exercise will build muscles to support joint function, support a healthy heart, and help lose weight if needed. Being overweight is one of the main influences on the severity of joint pain.
- Eat healthy. There is no single diet that is perfect for people who suffer from arthritis, but improving your diet by eating healthy, fresh foods that do not contribute to inflammation may help with your symptoms and reduce your weight. This is especially true of people who have gout, which is triggered by a build-up of uric acid. Foods to avoid if you have gout include shellfish, some red meats, and organ meat such as liver.
With arthritis, communication is very important. Convey to your friends and family about how you feel and why you may not feel up to engaging in certain activities. Likewise, if possible, advise your workplace or school about your condition and if there are any accommodations, such as keyboards for people with arthritis and other adaptive technologies; or standing pads with may take pressure of joints.
Be very sure to also advise your other health care providers of any medications you are taking to help manage any pain, as they might interact with other medications you may be prescribed.
If you have arthritis, whether it is a new diagnosis or you’ve had it for many years, the board-certified physiatrists at Star Spine & Sport can help. Our team provides treatment for arthritis from physical therapy to nerve block injections, if necessary. Regenerative medicine has shown great promise in the treatment of joint pain and arthritis. Star Spine & Sport provides PRP therapy and stem cell therapy to patients who can benefit in their three locations near Denver. For an evaluation and treatment from our arthritis experts, call our office at (303) 238-4277 today. We see patients in three convenient locations in Golden, Westminster, and Denver.