The emotional impact of coping with the pain of arthritis can often be worse than the condition itself and being in daily pain can limit the amount of activities you can do as well as reducing your enjoyment of life. Here are a few tips to help make life a little easier:
1. Share your diagnosis with friends and family. If you’re having a particularly bad day, don’t be afraid to lean on your family for support. That’s what family is for.
2. See if your local arthritis organization or your doctor can recommend a support or social group for people with arthritis.
3. It can be difficult seeing other people getting on with their lives when you’re in pain, but try not to fight your pain. Tension makes pain worse. Instead try to look on it as your body’s signal that something is wrong and needs healing.
4. Don’t be a hero. If your pain is bad enough to limit your usual activities, ask your health care provider for pain relievers. Adequate doses of these can often control the pain sufficiently so that the person can lead an almost normal life.
5. Remember, sometimes it is possible to prevent pain, so it isn’t a foregone conclusion that because you have arthritis, you have to suffer pain. Getting plenty of exercise, for instance, walking every day and swimming regularly has been proven in studies to prevent and lessen arthritic pain. Make sure you get enough sleep – humans are supposed to have a minimum of eight hours sleep a night in order to stay healthy. It is during sleep that cells repair and swollen joints can rest. Taking a warm bath every day could also help prevent excess pain.
6. Foods are medicinal as well as nutritional, and there are some common foods and herbs that can reduce inflammation and pain in different types of arthritis, for instance, cherries, turmeric and ginger spice. There are recipes specifically tailored to people with arthritis that you could try and see if they help you.
7. Be sensible. If you have back pain and you work all day at a computer, ask your employer to get you a posture friendly chair and make sure you have regular breaks so you can move around.