Finding out that you have arthritis can be devastating. Coming to the realization that you have an incurable condition that will result in some pain or discomfort the rest of your life is traumatic. Though your feelings at this point are undeniable and deserving, there comes a point when you must take control of your health. There isn’t a cure for it, but you can slow down the progression of the disease and manage your pain. It will require a clear understanding of your condition, some lifestyle changes, and a clear plan for managing the day to day obstacles.
As you learn to cope with your diagnosis, here are some things you should and should not do:
Do Quit Bad Habits
They say old habits die hard, but if you want to get control of your arthritis, it becomes necessary to kick bad practices like smoking. There are several studies that show that smoking can increase the pain you experience from many forms of arthritis. The toxins released from cigarette smoke are known to contribute to cartilage loss while high concentrations of carbon monoxide in the blood make it difficult for bones to repair themselves. Quitting a bad habit like smoking can help to drastically reduce the pain and further progression of arthritis.
Don’t Cross Off Surgeries
Although surgery should be left as a last resort and for more severe cases of arthritis, it can be a very effective treatment for dealing with chronic pain. So, if you have hip arthritis and a doctor recommends you getting hip surgery which can help to eliminate pain and improve mobility, you shouldn’t dismiss the recommendation. Asking to try alternative therapies beforehand is alright, however, when it comes to improving the quality of your life, this may be a real option worth considering.
Do Get Enough Sleep
Though the pain you experience from arthritis can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, the less sleep you get, the lower your threshold for pain is. Although medical experts are still trying to figure out the reasons why, studies that have shown that those who get at least eight hours of sleep each night experience less pain. So, get on a routine, remove distractions, and try to get some shut-eye every night.
Don’t Abuse Medications
When you’re in a lot of pain, the most common form of relief is to take pain medication. Though it does provide temporary relief, it is imperative that you don’t overdo it. Whether over-the-counter or prescribed by a doctor, it is imperative that you take painkillers only as instructed. There are adverse effects to abusing medication including dependency, addiction, liver, and stomach damage. If you feel that the medication isn’t working efficiently, speak with your doctor about other pain management options like massage therapy, herbal supplements, or acupuncture.
Do Lose Weight
If you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis and also struggle with being overweight or obese, losing weight can help to relieve pain. The excess weight on your muscles, bones, and joints adds pressure causing pain levels to spike. Losing even a few pounds can relieve some of that pressure, therefore, reducing the discomfort.
Don’t Sit Around
When getting around is difficult it may seem like sitting around is all you can do to cope. Don’t allow arthritis to take control of your life. It is important to remain active. Activity actually helps to lubricate joints and reduce inflammation which can ultimately help to combat the pain. You don’t want to overdo it, however, so be sure to listen to your body for signs it’s time to rest.
Don’t Become Depressed
Suffering from a chronic illness that brings about unwavering pain can be more than difficult to deal with. Some even succumb to depression which only makes matters worse. If you’re feeling down about your condition, talk to someone about it. Going to a therapist or even sharing your stories with other arthritis sufferers can help you to sort through your emotions and find better ways to manage the stress.
Being diagnosed with arthritis is not a death sentence, nor does it mean the end of life as you know it. There are plenty of individuals who have taken control, found ways to manage their condition, and live happy and full lives. Simply stay encouraged, work with your doctor, and begin making lifestyle changes that will help you keep the pain under wraps. The journey won’t always be easy, but as long as you know what to do and what not to do, you’ll find the road a lot easier to travel.