Monday, December 5, 2022

What To Do If I Have Arthritis

What Is Moderate Physical Activity

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Physical activity is considered moderate if you can easily have a conversation while doing it. Common types of moderate physical activity are walking, biking, and swimming, but you’re not limited to these activities. If it gets your heart rate up, it counts:

  • Dancing
  • Yardwork, like raking or trimming shrubs
  • Household chores, such as vacuuming
  • Walking your dog
  • Playing with your children or grandchildren

Stop Avoiding Mobility Aids

A cane, walker, or wheelchair may be necessary for some people with arthritis to stay independent and get around on their own. Understandably it can be tough to think about needing some sort of mobility aid, but if you do need one and don’t use it you risk missing out on things you would enjoy.

A cane or wheelchair doesn’t define who you are, and no one will judge you or think less of you for using one. In fact, you’ll probably be admired for getting out there and having fun in spite of needing a little help.

Important Considerations For People With Arthritis Of The Hip

There is no cure for arthritis. Typically, it starts gradually and worsens over time. Eventually, all forms of arthritis of the hip may permanently damage the hip joint. While osteoarthritis is more common in older people, there are forms of arthritis that affect younger people.

Fortunately, there are things that can be done to help minimize the effect of arthritis, and we are glad to discuss these option.

Arthritis Statistics*:

  • 22% of the U.S. population in 2010 reported some form of arthritis
  • Among adults over 65, 50% have some form of arthritis
  • The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis
  • Weight loss of just 11 pounds can reduce a womans risk of developing knee arthritis by 50%
  • Of working age people , one-third of those who had arthritis reported it limited their ability to work

*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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How Arthritis In The Hands Is Treated

If youre diagnosed with an inflammatory form of arthritis, you have more treatment options than someone with OA. While nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help manage the pain of both types of arthritis, the development of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs and biologics has vastly improved the prognosis of those with inflammatory forms of arthritis by reducing inflammation and preventing further joint damage.

Cortisone injections can be useful for those with OA and conditions such as RA, though theyre usually used in patients whose inflammatory arthritis is limited to just one or two joints, Dr. Byram says. Injections of hyaluronic acid can be helpful for those with OA , but these are better for managing pain in larger joints like the knees rather than the hands.

Find A Personal Trainer Who Specializes In Arthritis

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I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis when I was just 25 Im 32 now and if theres one thing I wish Id known when I was first diagnosed is how important exercise is for autoimmune types of arthritis, says Brianne F., 32, of Redding, California. Walking every day and doing a gym workout three to five days a week has been essential for controlling her AS symptoms but the real key for her was finding a personal trainer who specializes in arthritis to help her design a workout plan that would help her body and not injure it further, she says. My trainer is pricey but shes worth it. She pretty much saved my life, she says. Plus, she struggles with an autoimmune disorder herself so she really gets it.

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What Is The Patient’s Role In Treating Or Managing Arthritis

The patient is the most important member of the health care team.

The patient plays an important role in his or her medical care. The patient can contribute to the success of a treatment plan by:

  • learning about arthritis
  • reporting progress and setbacks to health team
  • keeping a positive attitude
  • developing relationships with the rest of the health care team

Keeping a positive attitude, though sometimes difficult, is an important ingredient in overcoming arthritis. Asking questions and finding out as much as you can about of arthritis and its treatment is important. So talk over your concerns with your doctor. If you still need more information , ask the nurse, physical therapist, social worker, occupational therapist to help you find answers to your questions.

What Is Arthritis Of The Hand

Arthritis is a disease that attacks the tissues of your joints. A joint is where two bones meet. Arthritis can attack the lining of your joint or the cartilage, the smooth covering at the ends of bones. Eventually the cartilage breaks down, the ends of your bones become exposed, rub against each other and wear away. You have many joints in your hand, therefore its a common site for arthritis to happen.

Arthritis of the hand causes pain and swelling, stiffness and deformity. As arthritis progresses, you cant use your hands to manage everyday tasks as you once could.

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Treating Spinal Osteoarthritis May Take A Combination Of Therapies

Talk with your doctor about your neck and/or back pain to make sure your diagnosis is accurate and current. Remember that certain types of back problems are degenerative, meaning they may change, improve, or worsen with time. Management of your spinal arthritis pain may involve more than 1 medication or therapy. You have choices, and your doctor can work with you to find the right drug or combination of medications and therapies to ease your spinal osteoarthritis symptoms.

Stock Your Pantry With Healthy Foods

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One of the things Ive discovered that makes a huge difference in how I feel is what I eat, Michelle says. Avoiding sugar, gluten, and processed foods really reduces the amount of inflammation and flare-ups I have its really hard but its worth it. This is something she wishes shed started the day she got diagnosed, instead of taking years to figure it out. Now she says she tells others who are being tested for arthritis that step one should be to go home and clear all the crap out of your pantry and stock up on fruits and vegetables. Learning how to make a healthy smoothie that satisfies her sweet tooth while still giving her a healthy boost of fresh produce has been a gamechanger, she says.

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Are Glucosamine And Chondroitin Supplements Helpful For Treating Osteoarthritis Of The Hand

Supplements are not reviewed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration . They are not required to undergo the same rigorous clinical trial methods that medications must undergo in the U.S. Some clinical trials show benefits with pain relief however, there is no proof that these supplements slow the progression of osteoarthritis. If you plan to try these, always check with your healthcare provider before using supplements. These products may interfere with medications you currently take.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Dull or burning joint pain, morning stiffness, swollen joints in your hand are all symptoms of arthritis. Many types of arthritis could affect your hands. Many treatment options are available depending on your exact arthritis type. Medications can reduce joint pain and swelling. Researchers are still working on ways to slow the progression of osteoarthritis. See your healthcare provider if you think you have arthritis in your hands. They will perform a complete exam and offer you a complete treatment plan, which includes hand exercises, use of hot and cold packs, other lifestyle tips and traditional treatments including medications, braces/splints, steroid injections and surgery.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/06/2021.

References

What Causes Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a complex disease and is still the focus of much research. Approximately 80% of adults aged 55 and over show evidence of OA on their X-rays, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Evidence is growing for the role of systemic factors, such as genetics, diet, hormones, and bone density as well as more acute factors like obesity, muscle weakness, and overuse of joints.

Scientists believe the cause of OA can also depend on which part of the body is involved. For example, OA in the hands or hips may be due to genetic factors. OA in the knees can be linked with being overweight or having past injuries. Overuse can also cause OA in joints, especially in the case of long-term occupations which require repetitive movements.

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How Is It Treated

Some kids who have JIA might take medicine like ibuprofen to help control pain and inflammation. If the arthritis is more severe, they may need to take other medicines to help lower the pain and inflammation. Some of these medicines are pills, but others are shots.

It’s important that kids with JIA keep their joints moving. Often a kid will see a physical therapist or occupational therapist. In addition to working with children to move their joints and strengthen their muscles, these therapists can help create special exercise programs for home or school that can help a kid stay active.

In addition to joint problems, JIA may cause uveitis , an inflammation of the eye that can lead to problems with vision if it’s not treated. All kids diagnosed with JIA should get their eyes checked by an ophthalmologist, a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating eye problems. If the eyes are affected, they may be treated with eye drops.

Besides taking medicines, a kid can do a few things to help with the symptoms of JIA:

  • Keep joints warm and stay active.
  • Take warm baths, which can make a kid’s joints hurt less.
  • Use an electric blanket on a timer that turns on 1 hour before a kid wakes up, which can help warm the joints and help a kid move better.
  • Some kids dip their hands in a special warm wax called paraffin that helps their joints ache less.
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Glucosamine And Chondroitin Sulfate

How Do I Know If I Have Arthritis?

Many supplement products aiming to treat arthritis contain both glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. These substances are found naturally in human cartilage. Research regarding glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplements is mixed,1416 and doctors opinions of them vary. Positive clinical studies suggest they may provide modest pain relief by helping to rebuild worn-out cartilage in your arthritic joints.

In general, if you take any supplement for 2 to 6 months and dont notice any relief from arthritis symptoms, check with your doctor for other options.

Opinions about the recommended doses for supplements can vary. Before starting a new one, talk to your doctor or pharmacist to make sure the supplements contents and the dosage is right for your condition and wont interact with any other medications and supplements you take. Some supplements can cause serious health problems if they are taken at high doses or combined with other supplements and medications.17

Also, keep in mind that supplements are not a quick fix for your arthritis pain. They may take effect graduallyover weeks or monthsand provide only a modest decrease in pain. When you combine supplements with other treatments, such as an anti-inflammatory diet and exercise, there may be more significant pain relief.

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When To See A Doctor

If youre experiencing minor aches, pains, and general stiffness, you can rely on natural remedies and at-home treatments. If you notice sharp pain or a flare-up that lasts longer than a week, its time to take action. Call your doctor if:

  • At-home therapy, like icing, OTC painkillers, and rest, isnt working
  • One joint or area flares-up more than usual, preventing your normal activities
  • Resting isnt improving your pain
  • You take multiple medications for arthritis and other health conditions

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Whats The Outlook For Someone Living With Arthritis

Since theres no cure for arthritis, most people need to manage arthritis for the rest of their lives. Your healthcare provider can help you find the right combination of treatments to reduce symptoms. One of the biggest health risks associated with arthritis is inactivity. If you become sedentary from joint pain, you may face a greater risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other serious conditions.

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Keep Bc Arthritis Powder Stick Packs Handy

When you need quick pain relief at home or on the go, BC® Arthritis can help. It contains a higher dose of aspirin than in our original formula plus the same amount of caffeine to help stop minor arthritis pain fast. Powder pain relief absorbs quickly and our convenient, on-the-go, sealed stick packs let you slip one or two in your pocket or purse to take with you wherever you go.

As always, especially if you take other medications, talk to your doctor to make sure its okay to take BCÒ Arthritis occasionally too.

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Should I See A Doctor

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Its common to have aches and pains in your muscles and joints from time to time. This may especially be true if you take part in unusual or strenuous physical activities.

So, how can you tell the difference between the early signs of arthritis and normal pain and stiffness? And, how do you know when you should see a doctor about your symptoms?

If you have swelling or stiffness that you cant explain and that doesn’t go away in a few days, or if it becomes painful to touch your joints, you should see a doctor. The earlier you get a diagnosis and start the right type of treatment, the better the outcome will be.

Here are some other things to think about that might help you decide whether you need to see a doctor:

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Effects On Your Daily Life

  • See a doctor or other relevant healthcare professional if youre unable to do everyday tasks due to joint or muscle pain.
  • If youve lifted something heavy and hurt your back, for example, take some painkillers, apply some heat and try to stay active. If the pain doesnt ease after a couple of weeks or so, see a doctor.

Its important to see a doctor if you get any new symptoms or if you have any trouble with drugs youre taking.

If you have an appointment with a doctor, to help make sure you get the most out of it, you could take a list of questions with you and tick them off as they are discussed.

You could also keep a symptoms diary with details of how youre feeling in between appointments. Some people find that taking a friend or relative with them to an appointment can provide support and ensure that all important points are discussed.

Call Your Insurance Company Today

Health insurance is a must for people with a chronic illness like arthritis but unfortunately not all insurance plans cover everything you need. This is something Leon S., 65, of Atlanta, Georgia, found out the hard way when he racked up huge bills when one of the specialists he saw for his gout and reactive arthritis wasnt in network.

I wish Id called my insurance as soon as I got my diagnosis to figure out what exactly was covered and what wasnt, he says. I assumed the doctors office would tell me but they didnt. He also discovered that a treatment hed heard promising things about wasnt covered by his insurance. Ive learned now that you have to call first, about every little thing, and dont ever assume something will be covered.

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Use Splints And Supports

Wearing splints can often help to ease the strain or pain in your joints. There are two types of hand and wrist splints.

  • Working splints provide more flexible support to help reduce pain while youre working.
  • Resting splints consist of a custom-made cradle with straps to hold it in place. These can help if you have pain at night which affects your sleep or if you need to rest your hands for a short time during the day.

Some people find that compression gloves are also helpful in reducing pain and swelling and are easier to wear. These can be worn day or night, when working or resting.

A hand therapist can explore the options with you.

Find A Less Tiring Position To Work In

Joint Pain Series: How Do I Know If I Have Arthritis?

Standing for long periods or working in a cramped position can make you ache and feel more tired. Try the following to see if they help:

  • Change positions more often.
  • Stretch your arms and legs from time to time to help prevent them becoming stiff.
  • Make sure that work surfaces are at the correct height and that you dont have to stoop or stretch as you work at them.
  • Try sitting instead of standing a lot of tasks that you might normally do in a standing position can be done just as well sitting on a stool.
  • Consider whether your seat is comfortable, supportive and the right height and depth for you your chair should be adjusted so your hips and knees are at right angles and you should have good support for your lower back.

If you need more advice on workplace adjustments, you and your manager can arrange a workplace assessment. An occupational therapist or a Disability Employment Advisor can do this you can get in touch with a DEA through your local Jobcentre Plus office.

A DEA or occupational therapist can advise you on changing the way you work and on equipment that may help you to do your job more easily. If necessary, a DEA can also help with retraining for more suitable work.

If you haven’t told your employer that you have arthritis, an occupational therapist can also give you advice about changes you could make without visiting your workplace.

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