Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying excess weight puts undue stress and strain on your weight bearing joints. Extra weight increases the risk of developing arthritis and can cause arthritis to progress more quickly.
It is not surprising to feel aches and pains as we enter our seasoned years. Some of the aches and pains we experience as we age may be caused by osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis and very common in later years.
Osteoarthritis is not considered to be a "normal" part of aging, but the risk of developing the condition does increase as we get older. The condition is caused by the typical wear and tear of living. Its symptoms can sneak up on you as your joints become more and more painful over time. Arthritis pain is usually felt in the weight bearing joints like the hips, knees, feet, and spine.
Speak with your doctor if think your aches and pains may be caused by arthritis. Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy or occupational therapy. Both are forms of rehabilitation. Physical therapy helps strengthen and heal areas of the body, while occupational therapy helps identify how to manage daily activities so that a painful condition like arthritis does not stop people from living as fully as possible. Your doctor might also prescribe medications.
There are things you can do to help improve and manage arthritis symptoms and pain. Some people find the following tips helpful. Always consult with your doctor before adding something new to your usual daily routine.
Get enough sleep. Arthritis pain and inflammation can drain your energy and cause fatigue. Being well rested won’t make your condition go away, but it can help make it easier to deal with the pain and difficulties of living arthritis. Some people find that using pillows to take the pressure off painful joints makes it a lot easier to get to sleep and stay asleep. If you have difficulty getting a full night of sleep, let your doctor know.
Use heat and cold. Applying heat (i.e. a heating pad) or cold (i.e. an ice pack) to painful joints and muscles can provide some relief for arthritis sufferers. Heat helps muscles relax; cold helps to minimize inflammation and pain. Alternating heat and cold can offer powerful relief. Talk to a health-care provider about how to use heat and cold safely.
Protect your body. Avoid activities and body positions that cause pain or place a lot of stress or pressure on your painful joints. Remaining in one position for a long period of time can cause joint stiffness and pain so make sure to move or change positions often.
Stretch. Stretching out your joints on a daily basis can help ease pain and increase function. Your doctor or rehabilitation therapist will be able to help you put together a regular stretching program that meets your specific needs. Many people with arthritis find yoga helpful, because it concentrates on stretching and also can enhance feelings of well-being.
Do not smoke. Studies have shown a connection between smoking and arthritis. Smoking may result in escalated pain, more severe symptoms, and increased joint damage.
Remain as active as possible. Exercise can strengthen your muscles and improve the flexibility of your joints. Staying active also can increase energy and enhance your mood. Try a water aerobics/exercise program. Moving and exercising your body in water causes less stress on your joints than on dry land. At the same time, water also provides resistance, which means simpler movements done in water provide more benefit than if done out of the water.