Many people would associate arthritis with the onset of old age. Although old people may suffer from arthritis, it isn’t only the elderly who are affected by arthritis. Many younger people, including some in their teens, suffer from some kind of arthritis.
Dictionaries define arthritis as being an inflammation of the joints due to infectious, metabolic, or constitutional causes. Obviously, that can include a large number of different causes of this illness.
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints and the cartilage of the joints; furthermore, it is an ongoing, degenerative disease. This is probably one of the most difficult aspects of the disease to cope with: although today may be painful, the future will possibly only be worse.
There are more than one hundred different types of arthritis. Two of the most common types are osteoarthritis, caused by the wear and tear exerted on the joints through a lifetime and rheumatoid arthritis, caused by an autoimmune response in the body. Osteoarthritis is arthritis associated with getting older.
This is the version of arthritis that most people think of when talking about arthritis. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the body is tricked into acting as though there was an infection in the joint. As a result, there is swelling, inflammation, and pain in that joint as the body endeavors to fight the phantom infection.
The most common medical treatment offered to arthritis patients are NSAID’s or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. The drawback with these drugs is that they can cause irritation in the intestinal tract and some researchers believe may even make the deterioration of the joints worse.
Alternative treatments for arthritis include the use of Glucosamine Sulfate, turmeric and fish oils. Studies have suggested that glucosamine helps to build cartilage and therefore rebuild the damage done to joints both from wear and tear as well as arthritis.
Turmeric, a yellow spice used in curries and prepared mustard, has anti-inflammatory qualities. One of the compounds in turmeric that is so helpful, called curcumin, can be bought in capsule form. Fish oils, particularly EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), help to fight inflammation. In addition, as omega-3 fatty acids, they contribute to general health in the body.
What Are The Coping Strategies For Arthritis Joint Pain?
Just as “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, so is a pain. When it comes to arthritis, pain is a part of everyday life, but it’s also different for each person. How someone with arthritis copes with that pain can make the difference between an active, happy life, and one filled with dread at the thought of getting up out of bed in the morning.
Here Are Coping Strategies For Arthritis Joint Pain
Get Moving Every Day
Maybe it sounds counter-intuitive when you are in pain, but exercising, even if it’s only walking, is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Exercise reduces joint pain and stiffness and increases flexibility. It can also reduce stress and improve sleep – which both help you to feel better. It’s no coincidence that a key slogan of the Arthritis Foundation is Let’s Move Together. How do you start?
Talk to your doctor to get recommendations on the best exercises to help you. Don’t risk injuring yourself by trying things your body may not be able to handle Commit to moving every day. Sometimes you won’t feel like it, but even 10 minutes of walking will feel good, and once you hit the 10-minute mark you will probably want to keep going
Get support from friends and family. They can be a source of encouragement and can exercise with you
- Find The Treatment That Works For You
- Find Products That Make Daily Tasks Easier
It’s challenging to keep a positive outlook when it seems that at every turn, doing the simplest things can be a challenge. Why spend time being frustrated when there are many inexpensive self-help products on the market that can help you with your daily tasks. Keep reachers handy if you have trouble bending. You can get a sock aid to make the process of putting on socks or nylons easy. There are literally thousands of products on the market designed specifically to help people with pain or limited mobility.
- Get Involved
With so many millions of people suffering from arthritis, there is a great need for increasing awareness about the disease and raising money for support programs and research. Did you know that more than 300,000 children have arthritis? How about that there are more than 100 different forms of arthritis?
Getting involved in volunteering and fundraising is one way to feel less like a victim of the disease and more empowered. You will also meet some wonderful people who can relate to what you are going through and provide invaluable support.
The Arthritis Foundation is the main non-profit organization related to arthritis in the US and is always looking for enthusiastic advocates, volunteers, and fundraisers, and they have offices all around the country.
Various studies have also shown that volunteering can have many positive impacts on your health, including preventing depression, reducing the chance of some illnesses, and even extend your life!
- Learn About All Available Treatments
Just because an individual has been diagnosed with arthritis doesn’t mean that the condition can’t be treated and managed to a level of high-functioning and comfort. Assistive technology and lifestyle changes can help people with arthritis cope with their condition. But modern advancements in medicine have revealed many promising treatments for arthritis that are worth discussing with a doctor.
These are a few of the many treatments that individuals with arthritis may want to learn more about to better understand their options for coping with the disease:
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- Steroid injection
- Hyaluronic acid injection
- Trigger point injection
- Nerve block
- Peripheral nerve stimulation
- Reduce Stress
According to several studies, controlling stress doesn’t just help prevent contracting arthritis but it can also lessen the pain once you get the disease. This is because stress negatively affects the immune system which is vital for fighting the symptoms of arthritis. Learning how to relax and practicing stress reduction techniques can help you minimize arthritis pain.
Supplements like vitamins can help reduce arthritis inflammation and boost the immune system to help fight arthritis symptoms. Vitamins classified as anti-oxidants can also neutralize free radicals which damage tissues and cartilage joints. There are also joint supplements like glucosamine that have been proven to help in reducing arthritis pain. Of course, it is best to consult your doctor regarding what supplements you should be using.
- The Right Shoes
Shoes are important when it comes to proper posture and minimizing back and joint pain. If possible, avoid wearing high heels and opt for flats and other comfortable footwear. According to research conducted in Boston’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, women who wear high heels have increased the twist at the knee which strains the back part of the kneecap. This makes them more prone to injury and increases wear and tear to the affected joints.
Prescription and over-the-counter medications can significantly decrease or temporarily gets rid of arthritis pain. Consult your doctor for your best options when it comes to medication. By far, medication is still the most effective way to cope with arthritis pain. However, it is not an option for some people due to different reasons.
Coping with arthritis is an ongoing process, given that arthritis tends to get worse over time. Obviously, two priorities exist in this coping effort; to help the patient deal with the pain and to aid them in living as independently as possible.
The issue of coping with pain will be part of the therapeutic process, using either pain medication and/or alternative methods. Some arthritis gets so bad that surgery is used to affect repair to the joints involved.
As far as maintaining independence is concerned, successful therapy will help. If attempts to control arthritis don’t work, then a plan to adjust to limited mobility is called for.
Feature Image Credit: Shutterstock.com
In Post Image Credit: Shutterstock.com