Living with arthritis

Arthritis is a very common complaint that will affect most of us at some time in our lives. Unfortunately there is no cure for arthritis at present but advances are being made in terms of treatments available.

So it is important to remain hopeful about the future of arthritis research.

What does this mean for you? It is entirely understandable that you view your arthritis as something which has to be endured and possibly for the rest of your life.

Nevertheless, there are a variety of ways of making your arthritis easier to live with which will improve your quality of life.

These include people, services and products which are discussed as individual sections within this guide.

They include:

These are all effective and useful ways of helping you to cope with arthritis.

Problems with arthritis

The main problems with arthritis are pain, stiff joints, restricted movement or mobility and a lack of freedom and independence.

Arthritis is difficult to live with and there are people who become disabled as a result. It often means relying upon other people to help with even the smallest task and often takes a toll on the family as well as the sufferer.

Many sufferers experience flare ups with their arthritis which means periods of pain, inflammation and discomfort which severely affects their ability to function on a daily level. These flare ups are interspersed with periods of remission in which the symptoms settle down.

Basically, you have good days and bad days. This probably sounds all too familiar and is often why sufferers become depressed. Arthritis can be stressful, exhausting and a miserable state of affairs but there is help and advice out there which will reduce the impact arthritis has on your life.

Never too early to help yourself

The earlier you seek help and treatment for your arthritis the better. There is no cure for most types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritisbut there is much that can be done to minimise the symptoms.

It is important that you adopt a routine which includes medication, regular exercise, massage and periods of rest and relaxation. Find ways which enable you to move as easily as you around your home or look at making a few changes which can help with this.

For example fitting levers to the taps above the sink will make it easier to turn them on and off.

A balanced approach to arthritis

The aim is to find a balance between resting and activity.

There will be days when you have plenty of energy and feel able to do jobs around the house, exercise or socialise with others. Your arthritis may have settled down and is not causing you too many problems.

But there will also be days when your energy levels will be low and fatigue has set in. Accept that this will happen. Pace yourself during the day and try and get a good night’s sleep.

The issue here is for you to take control of your arthritis rather than letting it control you. It can be a life changing condition which causes a whole set of problems but these can be overcome.

Learning to self-manage your arthritis

There are organisations such as Arthritis Care which can advise people about managing their arthritis. They offer workshops and courses on how to cope on a day to day level with arthritis.

These courses teach you about diet and exercise, relaxation techniques, counselling and adapting to your condition. This adaptation does not mean giving in to arthritis; rather it means adopting a sensible approach which will enable you to live a relatively normal life.


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