Arthritis is the leading cause of disability and chronic pain among adults, and it can completely change the way you live your life. You might have to give up hobbies, limit your activities, and make adjustments to your home. However, sometimes this isn’t enough to manage the pain. Luckily, there are ways you can work together with your doctor to find solutions and make living with arthritis as easy as possible.
Dr. Philip Regala serves patients in Naples, Florida and the surrounding areas. He has years of experience helping patients manage and overcome arthritis to live happier, more mobile lives. Your treatment will be tailored to your needs, including conservative methods like regenerative medicine and physical therapy, or more intense treatment like surgery.
The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While hundreds of other types of arthritis exist, these are seen most frequently among adults, particularly older adults.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage cushioning your bones begins to deteriorate, which leads to inflammation, stiff joints, and pain. Any joint can be affected, though it’s most common at the site of an old injury and in weight-bearing joints like your hips, knees, and feet.
Rheumatoid arthritis often occurs in the hands first, and is caused by your own immune system. Your body begins to attack the tissues inside your joints, which causes inflammation, bone erosion, and serious pain that can be extremely difficult to manage.
Depending on what kind of arthritis you’re experiencing, the severity of your condition, and your pain levels, your treatment might vary from someone else’s. However, certain practices can help anyone suffering from arthritis, regardless of their situation.
Here are five of the best practices for managing arthritis:
1. Stay active
While the pain can make exercise sound unpleasant and downright impossible, maintaining your mobility is extremely important. Without regular movement and exercise, your joints will only become more stiff and painful. Avoid running, jumping, and high-impact workouts, and instead opt for gentle exercises such as walking, water aerobics, and cycling.
2. Make adjustments to your home and day-to-day life
There’s no shame in making things easier on yourself, especially in your own home. Try purchasing items that make everyday tasks easier, like electric toothbrushes, raised toilet seats, and canes.
3. Don’t self-isolate or give up on hobbies
Many people with severe arthritis eventually give up on their social lives or hobbies. This can lead to depression and self-isolation, which can only worsen the issue. Instead, try to pick up new hobbies and connect with people in similar positions. Ask your family to make accommodations for you during social gatherings, and don’t feel ashamed of your condition or of needing to ask.
4. Learn new coping skills and self-care activities
It’s never too late to improve yourself and learn new ways of coping, communicating, and caring for yourself. A self-management class can help you learn how to manage stress and pain, make allowances for yourself on bad days, and communicate better with your doctor and loved ones.
5. Stay in touch with your doctor
This is one of the most important parts of managing arthritis. If you feel uncomfortable or judged by your doctor, it might be time to switch to one who understands your condition. From there, you and your doctor can begin building a treatment plan that will benefit you. This might include regenerative medicine, medication, corticosteroids, or even surgery.
If you’re looking for an arthritis specialist, Dr. Regala can help you learn more about your condition, and begin discussing the best way to treat and manage it. To get in touch, call 239-325-1131, or book an appointment online.