How to Cope With Arthritis

If you are reading this and wondering “Why me? Why have I developed this terrible disease and yet all my friends are still very active? Why are my joints so painful and useless?”

There are many reasons why you may have contracted arthritis, but the fact remains that you now have one or another form of the disease and have to deal with it in the best way possible. Obviously, the number one priority is to reduce the pain and then to try and decrease the swelling, so that some mobility might be restored.

Your first stop is at your local doctor, who will do the necessary blood tests to verify that you have the disease, and then prescribe some anti-inflammatory drugs, and pain killers. He will then refer you to your nearest Arthritis (rheumatologist) specialist, who will assess your condition, and advise you that the best course of action is to probably start a regime of drugs.

You must always consider the options, but primarily you need to start some form of treatment as soon as possible, to prevent any joint damage, or further joint damage.

With any drugs there will be side effects, and these have to be given careful thought. Your specialist will be able to provide the documentation that will spell all this out for you.

Depression is another potential pitfall, but there is no need to get depressed. Initially it might seem that you have been dealt a rough hand, but with care and the right mindset you can be pain free and very active. Just remember, when you feel down, that there is always somebody worse off than you!

Work and arthritis

Many people will want to remain in work, and these days there are laws that protect the disabled in the workplace, making it easier to declare a disability, and remain an equal to your “healthy” workmates.

These days employers are limited to the questions they can raise about your health before they offer or decline you a position within their workplace.

Many people with arthritis find working life a bit of a challenge, but there is plenty of support out there for you.

Most sufferers want to carry on working and for lots of reasons, including the necessity to pay the mortgage every month. (Let alone all the other bills, and the luxuries that you might have previously enjoyed) You will also find that working will make you feel better, you tend to forget the stress and pain of the illness when there are other stresses to worry about, also the mobility (if you have an active job) will help keep your painful joints moving. However, for those that cannot work, there is support out there, financial as well as physical.

Leisure and Arthritis

As mentioned previously, it is a good idea to keep as active as possible. Whether this is walking, swimming, cycling or partaking in any sport that you can manage, it will help to keep the joints “moving”, also to build the muscles around the joints, which then act as support for those joints. The exercise will also help you to maintain a reasonable weight. The less the weight, the less stress there will be on the “load bearing” joints, such as the knees, hips and spine.

Your positive state of mind is also a very important factor. Go out and enjoy time with your friends and families, try and stay cheerful, it all helps to take your mind off the disease and the pain that you may have.

Your diet can also play a major part in controlling the disease. It has been proven that certain foods just aggravate the condition and others help immensely. Try and educate yourself as to which foods to avoid and which foods are ok. This will definitely help reduce the inflammations and the arthritis pain, if not get rid of it altogether.

You can also dress sensibly; for example, if your feet are badly affected, then you will need comfortable shoes, and for the ladies of you, high heels are not sensible! You may find that the cold weather affects your hands, then use gloves and hand warmers, if you have to go outdoors in the cold.

You will find that your activities may be limited, but with a good diet and a good mindset, that you will be able to increase your accomplishments over a period of time. Stick with it!

Your sleep is also very important, make sure you get enough rest, as this helps the body re-charge in readiness for the next challenges.

There are other things to consider, such as adaptations to your home, if your condition is so severe that you are limited to a wheelchair, and need help to shower or bath. In the U.K. the NHS can help with this, and send specialists to your home to make suggestions. There is also the “Mobility” scheme in the UK which might allow you to own a car and remain independent, if you so needed this type of help. Carers who can visit your home on a daily basis are also a possibility. There is a lot of help out there, use it if you need it!

Your family, friends and neighbours will also be a source of help. Don’t be afraid to ask for it!

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