Arthritis affects about one in eight Americans, and close to 350 million people across the globe. Although the two major forms of arthritis—osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis—both involve painful joint inflammation and degradation, in practical terms, the diseases affect so much more than just movement.
Sufferers living with arthritis can find themselves unable to complete many basic activities due to the debilitating pain, and this, in turn, can lead to reduced mobility, social engagement, and mental disorders such as stress, anxiety, and depression.
It doesn’t always have to be that way. There is some hope for determined arthritis sufferers, who can reduce both physical pain and mental anguish with some small changes to their lives. Here are seven essential tips which could significantly ease long-term suffering.
Use Your Strength
This refers to both inner strength and outer strength. Identify the strongest parts of yourself and tap into those reserves when you’re feeling at your lowest. Physically, this may mean using your shoulder or side of the arm to open doors, so as to protect your fingers and wrist joints. Mentally, this may mean you remind yourself daily of all the obstacles you’ve already overcome and how strong you truly are.
Choose the Right Exercises
Sitting still and reducing the amount you move will only make arthritis worse in the long run. You should keep moving, stretching every 15 minutes if you need to stay in the same position. When you exercise—and you should definitely exercise!—choose activities that have a low impact on your joints—like swimming, aqua aerobics, walking, tai chi, and yoga.
Find the Right Balance
On the other end of the scale, rest is also just as important as exercise for letting your body heal. If you’re feeling too sore or tired, or have aching muscles, don’t be ashamed to let your body slow down for a while. It’s about finding the right balance between activity and relaxation.
Aim for Weight Loss
Extra weight will put extra stress on your joints and will wear them out more quickly than if you’re of a healthy weight. Weight loss is always difficult, especially if you’re already suffering from something that restricts your motion, so don’t punish yourself to lose those pounds. Just try to eat a more balanced diet and keep up with that exercise, and your body will thank you for it.
Coping with arthritis day after day, it will be easy to back yourself into a corner of mental negativity. You might ask yourself questions like “this will never end” or “this is the worst I’ve ever felt.” It can be tough to block these thoughts and find the positive side, but a CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) practitioner will be able to help, as well as using mindfulness exercises, meditation, and yoga.
Find Caring Support
Having a strong social network and the right support for the darkest times in your life is essential. It’s essential for anyone in the world, not just for those with arthritis! Even if the people around you don’t understand what it’s like to live with arthritis, there are many resources and support groups online that do. Reach out to the community, and you’ll be surprised by just how welcoming it is.
Help Yourself with the Latest Home Aids
Technology and design have come a long way from the old days, and there are so many products out there now which have been designed specifically with you and your loved ones in mind. There are electric can openers, stair lifts, door openers, automatic cleaners, and so many more adaptive aids that you simply don’t have to strain, bend, or overreach if you don’t want to anymore.
Everything Within Reach with the atHand® Overbed Table System
When you have arthritis, it’s sometimes the simplest movements that can be the most frustrating. Reaching for something from your bed, for example, puts a strain on your back, elbows, hips, and fingers, and it can end up putting your joints in danger.
atHand® is an adjustable hospital bed table that makes living with arthritis that little bit easier. Designed for use at home as well as in care centers, it puts everything you’ll need within easy, painless reach—whenever you need it.
Find independence and a better quality of life today. Visit our store and try the atHand® Overbed Table System risk-free for 30 days.