As arthritis attacks your joints, your cartilage wears away, bone rubs against bone, and, it seems, your hope of a normal, healthy, and active life vanishes.
But at the Somers Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Group, we don’t think that life has to stop when arthritis sets in. Here, our team of experts take a closer look at some simple lifestyle adjustments you can make to thrive when you have arthritis.
Your joints are constantly moving or bearing weight, and, sometimes, they’re doing both. So when your joints are damaged by arthritis, it’s crucial that you take as much stress off them as possible.
The best way to do this is to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Start by eating a balanced diet of vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins, and do your best to avoid processed foods, red meat, and sugary drinks.
You may think that getting more exercise is the last thing you need when you have painful joints, but regular exercise is one of the best ways to manage arthritis. Moving your joints helps to push the special fluid inside around and encourages nourishment to them. The more activity you get, the stronger and more flexible your joints can become, which helps your body fight back against some of the painful stiffness and swelling.
Try some low-impact activities, such as yoga, water aerobics, and walking. Getting cardiovascular exercise is also a great way to lose weight and take the pressure off your joints.
You’ve likely “heard” your body tell you if you’ve pushed it too far. You may have been able to afford to ignore those warning signs when your body was in peak shape. Now, however, it’s important to listen to your body and stop when you feel your symptoms get worse.
Moderating the activities that exacerbate your symptoms can go a long way in both helping you feel better and preventing further joint damage.
Now that you have arthritis, you may need to make a few adjustments to your normal routine to protect your joints. For example, when running errands, try tackling your most important tasks first, so that they’re done in case your joints become too painful.
Depending on your needs, you may benefit from using assistive devices, including handrails and chairs, in the shower. Investing in tools like extendable grabbers can make your daily chores a lot easier, too.
Most don’t realize how significant of a role your brain plays in your perception of pain. That’s why we encourage our patients with arthritis to do their best to manage stress and continue doing the things they enjoy most. When you focus on the positive things in life, it can lift your mood and help you cope with the pain.
We create an arthritis treatment plan customized exactly to your needs — but it’s up to you to follow it. Following our diet and weight loss plans, taking your medications, and keeping up with physical therapy are essential to managing your arthritis. We have many treatment options available, from nonsurgical options including injections to joint replacement surgery in which our surgeons utilize the latest techniques to get you the best outcomes possible.
We believe that the best way to get through arthritis is with a support system. There are many arthritis support groups you can join where you can find comfort and encouragement. Be sure to schedule regular check-ups with our team of specialists, as well. We can give you the advice and guidance you need to live your healthiest life.
Arthritis doesn’t have to stop you from living a healthy, active life. If you’d like to learn more, don’t hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone at any one of our five conveniently located offices.