Arthritis affects around 10 million people in the UK and can be found in people of all ages, but most commonly in the elderly. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, both of which cause significant pain and inflammation in the joints. If you think you have arthritis or have already been diagnosed professional medical help is always essential, but there are also adjustments you can make in your daily life to make the condition more bearable.
The simplest thing you can do to make arthritis easier to live with on a daily basis is to make small, practical changes. Many everyday actions aren’t easy to perform with the condition, but you can make adjustments. The first thing you can do is to put things you use frequently in place that you find easy to reach. This reduces the amount you have to move and strain you joints. For objects that are farther away you could buy a long-handled tool to help.
You can also consider investing in making small adjustments to you home so it’s easier to live with. If you live in a property with stairs installing a handrail can make climbing them much easier. Additionally, for fiddly fittings like taps and door knobs you can fit larger handles that will allow you to open them without then need for a firm grip. Finally, looking out for electronic and automatic appliances can also alleviate your difficulties.
Moving to Help Your Joints
Another way to alleviate the aches and pains of arthritis is to get into the habit of moving and using your joints in a gentler way. Arthritis is often at its worst for many people in the smaller joints. By using larger stronger joints to support you and take some work away from the smaller joints, you can avoid some discomfort. For example, opening a door can be hard on your hand or elbow, but by using more shoulder support the task can become more manageable.
When you do have to use smaller joints for actions like gripping and holding, you can use them in a way that is less painful. If you grip objects loosely – although hard enough to not drop it – you will be less likely to feel pain or locking of the joint. You can also invest in chunkier handled objects – like cutlery and utensils – to prevent you from closing your grip too tightly and causing yourself problems.
Use Exercise to Reduce Pain
It may seem counterintuitive to suggest that exercise can help your arthritis – especially when physical activity seems to hurt – but done right it can be beneficial. Obviously, high intensity and high impact exercises will cause aggravation, but gentler regimes will have the opposite effect. Activities like; swimming, flexibility work like yoga, or gentle motions like tai chi can help flexibility, stiffness, improve range of motion, and help energy levels.
Exercise obviously comes with the other expected benefits. Combined with a heathy and balance diet you will find you’ll lose weight – if you’re overweight – and generally improve your health. This will have a further benefit as it will take pressure of your joints, further alleviating the frequency and severity of arthritis related pain.