“As you get older, don’t let society tell you what you can or can’t do. That’s what arthritis is for.” It may sound like a joke, but there’s little to laugh about. Arthritis, the common ailment that creeps up with age, comes in all shapes and forms (about 100 forms, to be precise). Once it gets the best of you, your life takes an unexpected turn. All of a sudden, all you’re concerned about is how to make the pain go away.
Anyone suffering from chronic pain would attest that when you’re experiencing a flare-up, you’ll try anything as long as it relieves the pain. The problem is, in cases of arthritis, the end doesn’t always justify the means. You don’t know if the remedy will work in your case and, even worse, if it’s a suitable long-term solution. If you’re an arthritis sufferer, you’ve probably read about the different ways to douse inflammation and reduce the swelling of the joints. Here are a few other tried-and-true ways to manage your arthritis pain. Hopefully, they can make your coexistence with arthritis more peaceful and manageable.
Simple ways to ease the pain
- Place high chairs around the house to allow yourself to take a break whenever you need one. This way, you’ll avoid unnecessary stress and overuse of your joints. Choose high chairs like bar stools so that you don’t have to make an extra effort to get up.
- You’ve heard about the importance of physical activity for your joint health, but how can you stay active when your joints are not cooperating? Get an electric bike. It will enable you to move around without the pressure on your knees that you get from traditional cycling.
- If you’re sitting, make sure to get up every half an hour. Your joints may seize up due to prolonged sitting. To avoid this, set a reminder on your phone to prompt you to move every half an hour. When you’re watching TV, use commercial breaks as your cue to give your joints some relief.
- Skip the elevator. It may be counterintuitive to choose stairs when your joints are not in top-notch shape, but this is yet another way to amp up your physical activity and build strength and muscle.
- See your dentist. What does your oral health have to do with your joints? A lot, in fact. Periodontitis, or swollen gums, promotes inflammation and can actually contribute to joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis. Some 150 years ago, teeth extraction was a common treatment for this form of arthritis. Luckily, we’ve come a long way since then, but if you’re suffering from periodontitis or have a family history of this condition, consult with your doctor on strategies to keep it under control.
Even if you feel like your pain is here to stay, don’t despair. It takes persistence and some trial and error to find a fix that works for you. By the way, if you feel like your muscles are sore or stiff, use a tennis ball to give yourself a quick massage. Place it between your back and the wall and roll on it until you hit an aching spot. Lean in gently until the pain goes away.