Posted on Jul 15, 2020 in Senior Health
Arthritis pain affects tens of millions of American adults. Of the 54 million arthritis sufferers in the US, 1 in 4 have severe joint pain.
There are more than 100 types of arthritis, so you’ll need an accurate diagnosis so you and your healthcare provider can formulate a personalized treatment plan.
The 2 leading types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
RA is an autoimmune disease. Your immune system is tricked into attacking healthy joint tissue. This triggers symptoms throughout the body.
OA occurs when cartilage wears over time causing your bones to rub together. The resultant friction and damage lead to inflammation.
This degenerative condition involves unbearable pain and often crippling inflammation. What can you do to fight back, then?
Remember: Always speak with your doctor before trying any new remedy for arthritis, even if it doesn’t involve medication.
The pain from arthritis involves mental turmoil not just physical aches and pains. Start pain management from a solid foundation by sharpening your mindset.
Struggling with the joint pain that characterizes arthritis can make it tough to stay positive but you need to reconcile yourself to the reality that you’re one of tens of millions. This is not a personal attack and you need to stay strong so you can systematically fight back against this chronic and debilitating condition.
Chronic pain and emotions are strongly interlinked so don’t underestimate the power of positivity.
With your attitude and mindset properly calibrated, you need to recognize the way your weight can influence your arthritis symptoms.
Joint guidelines from the Arthritis Foundation and the American College of Rheumatology strongly recommend weight loss in arthritis patients who are either overweight or obese.
If you cut back on your weight, you could experience the following benefits:
Speak with your healthcare provider, set yourself a target weight then work out a plan to help you achieve it.
You should exercise in line with your age, health, and fitness levels. You don’t need to go to the gym or run a marathon, but stay active.
Exercise can help in the following ways if you have arthritis:
If you’re stuck for ideas, use these easy exercises for seniors as inspiration.
More specifically, here are some exercises that can help with arthritis.
We mentioned food in line with weight management, but what you eat can also seriously influence the pain you experience from arthritis.
To keep your immune system and overall health optimized, eat as many fresh, whole foods as possible. Avoid processed foods. Enjoy plenty of fruits and vegetables. Stay properly hydrated – drink at least 2 liters of water daily.
While herbal supplementation won’t do much good for rheumatoid arthritis, if you’re suffering from OA, it’s worth exploring supplements designed to support joint health.
Supplements with ingredients like chondroitin and glucosamine can help soothe the pain you get from aching joints.
Do your own due diligence and speak with your doctor before trying any form of supplementation.
A motivating thought for you…
Arthritis is characterized by often debilitating fatigue.
If you wake up one day and feel like you don’t have the strength to get through the day, give yourself the day off. Remove all expectations and do whatever you can to take your mind off the pain. Don’t force yourself onward if you’re struggling.
We mentioned distracting yourself from pain so a few pointers next on how to do that…
A cold compress on inflamed joints at night can tamp down the pain somewhat.
Heat treatments like baths and showers can help relieve stiffness and improve mobility.
Some over-the-counter topical pain relief creams are effective. They work as counter-irritants and interrupt pain signals traveling to your brain. This is achieved through the creation of a hot/cold sensation on your skin.
Massages can help relieve aching joints while also boosting your mood.
While there’s insufficient evidence for massage to receive official backing as an arthritis treatment, it’s well worth considering if all else is failing.
If you’re unable to sleep, try listening to some soothing music.
Curled up in a darkened room, all you have to focus on is pain. Fire up your favorite playlist and distract yourself for an hour. You might be amazed how quickly you drop off.
Meditation can lower stress levels. This can help to counter pain and inflammation.
Since stress, anxiety, and depression often accompany arthritis, practicing mediation can be a powerful way to fight back on all fronts.
If you feel nobody understands the extent of what you’re going through with arthritis, consider speaking with others in your position. Sharing common experiences is a powerful therapy.
Consider joining local support groups, or check for groups and forums online where you can meet fellow arthritis sufferers.
Our parting advice is more general…
Try to accept what’s happening to your body as a normal part of aging. Instead of obsessing over what you can’t do, focus on the many things you’re still able to enjoy.
Remaining positive is perhaps your strongest weapon in the ongoing fight against arthritis.
If you’re suffering from so much arthritis pain mobility is awkward, have you thought about moving to an assisted living community?
Get in touch with our friendly team here at Landmark Senior Living, and we’ll gladly arrange a virtual tour of the senior living community closest to you.