Six Steps Toward Solving Problems
Arthritis can pose many challenges–not only for people who have it but for their families as well. Therefore it is important to understand how to solve problems and to have a basic plan at hand. The following outline gives you a step-by-step plan for becoming a successful problem-solver.
1. Understand the problem
Large problems can seem overwhelming. This can lead to feelings of helplessness. To make problems seem smaller try to separate the problem into manageable pieces. For example having trouble following your doctor’s recommendations may be due to: having a poor relationship with your doctor not having enough information or not being comfortable asking questions. Then try to identify the more important or most troubling areas and work on only one problem at a time.
2. Find possible solutions
For each piece of the puzzle list all possible solutions or actions. Then think through all of your choices. Ask others for their suggestions there is no need for you to think of all the solutions by yourself. Finally visualize what you want to see happen.
3. Evaluate your options
List the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Decide what’s needed to carry out the different options and plan how you would carry them out. Then select the option that is easiest and would bring you the most benefits.
4. Put your plan into action
Now it is time to move into action. Try only one option at a time. Be realistic and give yourself enough time to carry out your plan.
National Institute Of Arthritis And Musculoskeletal And Skin Diseases Information Clearinghouse
National Institutes of Health 1 AMS CircleBethesda, MD 20892-3675Toll free: 877-22-NIAMS TTY: 301-565-2966Fax: 301-718-6366Website: niams.nih.gov
Find more information about osteoarthritis.
If you need more information about available resources in your language or another language, please visit our website or contact the NIAMS Information Clearinghouse.
How Do Doctors Treat Osteoarthritis
The goals of your treatment may include:
- Improve how the joint works.
- Stop your joint problems from getting worse.
- Help you improve or keep your quality of life.
You may see several types of doctors for your OA, including your family doctor, a rheumatologist, or other specialists who can work with you to treat your joint problems.
Treating OA usually includes:
- Exercising, which can lower joint pain and stiffness and increase flexibility and muscle strength. Remember to start any exercise program slowly after talking to your doctor.
- Managing your weight to help lower the stress on joints. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight can help to lower pain, prevent more injury, and improve movement in your joints. This can be especially helpful for your knees or hips.
- Using braces or other orthotics that your doctor prescribes and that are fitted by a health care professional.
Some people may need medications to help manage the symptoms of OA. Your doctor may recommend surgery if your joint problems are severe and all other treatments tried have not helped. However, surgery is not right for everyone, and your doctor will help you decide if its best for you.
You may hear or read about other types of therapies to help treat your OA. For example:
- Massage can increase blood flow and bring warmth to the area.
- Acupuncture may help relieve pain. Doctors believe that the needles help release natural, pain-relieving chemicals made by the nervous system.
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How Can You Cope
Living with arthritis can be frustrating and difficult. If you are willing to explore your options, taking control of arthritis is possible. It is essential that you play a role in the management of your condition. Consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions about arthritis and how to treat it.
How To Live Well With Arthritis
Learn 5 key ways you can enhance your chance of success with arthritis by taking charge of your life and care.
Succeeding with a chronic illness involves more than just following doctors orders. If youre willing to work at it, these five habits will help you live successfully with arthritis:
1. Learn All You Can
Knowledge is power. Read everything you can, and locate trusted sources of news and information find out where exercise classes are being held in your community and ask lots of questions of your doctor, your physical therapist and other health-care providers.
2. Pay Attention to Your Emotions
Living with a chronic condition such as arthritis increases your chance of developing depression. Warning signs include constant tiredness, lack of appetite, trouble making decisions, disrupted sleep and feeling worthless. To head off depression, develop a network of family and friends who raise your spirits and can help you keep active.
3. Make Your Doctor Your Partner
4. Take Action
Its natural to be unsettled and upset after being diagnosed with arthritis or a related condition. But those who live successfully with chronic illness accept that their diagnosis is here to stay and they quickly start thinking about how to adapt their lives. Look at what you can do and what you may need to change . Make a plan and write it down. Talk to family and friends about the changes youll need to make. Letting others know about your plan can help you stick with it.
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Members Share Their Best Places
Many myRAteam members have reported on the best places to live for RA and what factors make a difference. Dry heat helped several members adjust. I moved from Michigan to Phoenix, Arizona, and love the weather. Less humidity has been great! Still have issues when it rains, but it is a lot better, said one member. Another agreed: For me, Ive found that in dry heat areas Las Vegas, Nevada Southwest states a lot of stuff for me is better overall, especially with the flare-ups!
Find New Ways To Stay Active
Research has found that regular exercise is one of the most effective treatments for arthritis. It also helps to improve your overall health.
Not all forms of exercise are appropriate for every kind of arthritis. Before you start to exercise, it is important to ask your doctor and healthcare team to help you develop a program that will suit your type of arthritis, general health and lifestyle.
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Best Places To Live With Arthritis: The Ultimate Guide
Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that can affect your quality of life significantly. If youâre thinking about where the best location might be to compliment your symptoms, read our guide to the best five places to live with arthritis.
If you live with arthritis, you will understand the life challenges and pain that this inflammatory disease can cause daily. Although there are medications that sufferers can take to help lessen the impact of arthritis, such as anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers, it can still be an overwhelming illness to manage.
Cold climates can exacerbate conditions such as arthritis. In comparison, sufferers who live in warmer temperatures show a marked improvement in their quality of life and mobility.
Even though health professionals differ on the specifics of why â changes in temperature and barometric pressure can have a negative impact on joint mobility and also increase joint pain.
When living with a condition such as arthritis, it is essential to remember that although a change in temperature and climate will not relieve your symptoms entirely, it can help to minimize their impact.
Here is a list of the five best places to live with arthritis, that will enable you to maintain an active lifestyle while being proactive with your healthcare.
Looking for somewhere to live to relieve your arthritis?
Connect with a Clever Partner Agent to find a home in one of these cities.
Psychological/mental Health And Stress
Many individuals with arthritis not only have to cope with the physical impacts of their condition but have to deal with its effect on their mental health. The overall proportion of men and women with arthritis that perceived their mental health as fair or poor was 9.6% and 8.2% respectively . Women less than 44 years of age were as likely as women in the 45-64 age group to report fair or poor mental health and men less than 44 years of age were more likely to report fair or poor mental health than all other age groups.
“I am often depressed as I look at a future of chronic pain and limited activity.”
Person living with osteoarthritis
Figure 3-3 – Proportion of individuals with arthritis who perceived their mental health as fair or poor
The proportion of individuals with arthritis who perceived their mental health as fair or poor, by age and sex, among individuals aged 15 years and over, in 2007-2008 is presented in Figure 3-3.
The overall proportion of men and women with arthritis that perceived their mental health as fair or poor was 9.6% and 8.2% respectively. Women less than 44 years of age were as likely as women in the 45-64 age group to report fair or poor mental health and men less than 44 years of age were more likely to report fair or poor mental health than all other age groups.
Figure 3-4 – Proportion of individuals with arthritis who reported being dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with life
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The Link Between Weather And Joint Pain
It isnt entirely clear why weather affects people with arthritis, but the link between weather and arthritic pain has been extensively studied. People with arthritis may experience pain in places where temperature changes are more extreme and in damp climates. They also experience pain in response to climate factors like humidity, air pressure, and wind speed. Temperature and barometric pressure have also been noted as contributing factors to joint pain. Understanding how different weather patterns affect pain can help people with arthritis find the best climate for them.
Living Conditions That Affect Arthritis
Every state is not created equal when it comes to arthritis. There are two major factors that you need to consider. First, the average climate or weather conditions in a state are going to be very important. Second, the availability and quality of medical care are going to be very important. Lets look a little closer at these factors.
The Best Places To Live With Arthritis In The Us Updated
Update: Weve received a lot of feedback on this post about places to live with arthritis and its apparently been very helpful for a lot of people. Thank you for all your input. Weve revisited the post and made a couple of updates based on the discussions and feedback weve received. If you have any additional input, feedback, or advice, please share it in the comments and join the discussion!
Considerations When Choosing a Location
If you are suffering from arthritis or other joint pain, and are thinking about moving, there are a couple of key factors that youll want to consider before moving. There are obviously other great places to live if you have arthritis other than those listed below , but there are some common factors in these cities that are important if youre thinking about moving:
Important Information if You Have Joint Pain
Opportunities For Activity Year
Bright, warm weather offers plenty of opportunity for year-round outdoor activity, a crucial part of managing osteoarthritis. While aches and pains can tempt a person to take it easy, over and again research shows that movement helps in painful joints.
Pro-tip: In colder but still arthritis-friendly cities like Denver, bundling up is key to staying active outside year round.
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Cost Of Healthcare And Access
If you are moving to take better care of your health, it makes sense that you need to look for a state that has affordable, accessible healthcare. Talk to your current healthcare provider about what changes you can expect, and be ready to move to another plan if the cost increases.
Pro tip: One of the best places to live with arthritis, New Mexico, also has one of the most affordable healthcare systems in the country.
Is Arthritis Chronic
Arthritis is a chronic disease. The symptoms usually can be controlled but for many people the disease remains. Being told you have a condition that’s not likely to disappear can be a shock at first and the information may be hard to believe and accept. Daily treatment is necessary to keep symptoms under control. For example doctors often advise people with arthritis to take medication and to rest and exercise daily even when they feel well. Arthritis treatment may require changes in routine ways of living such as scheduling time to exercise and rest. These changes can be difficult to accept. Some people try to ignore the fact that arthritis is chronic and they avoid parts of their recommended treatment. Allowing arthritis to go untreated can result in additional damage to the body.
Some of this material may also be available in an Arthritis Foundation brochure. Contact the Washington/Alaska Chapter Helpline: 542-0295. If dialing from outside of WA and AK contact the National Helpline: 283-7800.
Adapted from several pamphlets originally prepared for the Arthritis Foundation one of which is by Beth Ziebell Ph.D. This material is protected by copyright.
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How To Live Pain
Arthritis of the hands, wrist and fingers can be unbearable, but a doctor says you dont have to live in agony.
Aches and pains in your hands or wrists, or sore, swollen fingers could signal a condition known as arthritis.
But you dont have to live with the pain, says Kevin Chung, M.D., Chief of Hand Surgery and Director of the Comprehensive Hand Center at University of Michigan Health.
There are three common types of arthritis of the hands, wrist and fingers.
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is a condition in which the smooth, protective cartilage on the ends of joint bones begins to break down. Eventually, the bones become exposed and start to rub together. Osteoarthritis typically happens as a person ages. According to the Arthritis Foundation, approximately half of all women and one-quarter of all men will experience pain related to osteoarthritis by the time they reach the age of 85.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune and inflammatory condition in which the immune system attacks the tissue lining around a joint that produces lubrication to help the joint move smoothly. This causes the joint to become tender and painful to move. Individuals diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis my be genetically predisposed to the condition, which researchers believe is activated by an environmental trigger such as a virus or bacteria or by physical or emotional stress.
Post-traumatic arthritis is a type of osteoarthritis caused by joint injury or trauma.
Why Do Other People’s Perceptions Matter
Many people think of arthritis as an old person’s disease or something that causes minor aches and pains. At the other extreme are those people who believe that nothing can be done for arthritis and that those who get it can expect to end up in a wheelchair. You may be accused of making too much of your arthritis or viewed with pity by people who think you’re on the verge of becoming totally disabled. You may feel put down if you’re told what you can’t do by an uninformed public or a well-meaning family member who just wants to protect you.
The negative perceptions of others may be among the most difficult challenges you have to face. When family and friends misunderstand you they may not be able to provide the support you need.
Misconceptions held by employers and the public can make it more difficult for you to work or get the services you need.
But you don’t have to accept other people’s ideas about you or your illness. Learn as much as you can about arthritis so you can have a realistic attitude about your condition. Then deal with people’s misinformed notions in a positive fashion. At times you may want to ignore comments from misguided friends. At other times you will want to explain your condition as soon as you become aware that someone has misconceptions. In a matter-of-fact way talk about arthritis and how it affects you. By educating others you can help promote a better understanding of arthritis.
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