How Does Arthritis Affect Your Life?
If you suffer from arthritis, then you know that it can affect your life in more ways than one. Daily tasks become harder and take longer to accomplish. Along with chronic pain, you have to deal with new physical limitations, mental stress, and emotional trauma. It can also affect your body image as arthritis can change the shape of your joints and change the quality of your skin.
In a word, dealing with arthritis is challenging–but it’s not impossible to manage.
In our years of treating and helping our patients manage both osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), we’ve managed to collect a lot of anecdotal tips on the best ways you can adjust your daily habits to make dealing with chronic pain more manageable.
Here are some of the most useful ones that you should take note of:
- Maintain good posture. Having poor posture puts a lot of stress on your neck, hips, back, and knees. This just makes you more tired and adds to your pain.
- When standing, hold your shoulders back and stand with your feet about a foot apart to keep good balance. Standing like this keeps pain at bay. If standing becomes too painful, lean against a wall or put your feet up.
- While sitting, make sure your spine is properly supported. Use pillows or a rolled up towel to add lower back support.
- While lying down, a cervical pillow or a small roll can help support you neck.
- Avoid placing pillows under your knees.
- A body pillow can support your arms and legs when you’re lying down on your side.
- Try to distribute your weight across your larger, stronger joints. For instance, if you carry a purse daily, opt for one with a shoulder strap, instead of clutch. When you lift things, use the palms of your hand instead of your fingers.
- When climbing stairs, be sure to take the first step using your stronger leg first when going up. Be sure to use a handrail whenever possible.
- When lifting things, be sure to carry it close to your body so that it puts less stress on your body.
- Stretch and relax muscles and joints as often as possible to avoid stiffness and pain.
- Keep your back straight and bend your knees whenever you lift something low on the ground.
- Take short and frequent breaks if you’re day consists of a lot of physical activity. If possible, alternate between heavy and light activities and be sure to pace yourself.
- Plan meals ahead to reduce last minute chores and tasks.
- Maximize use of electric appliances—can openers, crock pots, microwaves, dishwashers. These appliances will prove to be very useful.
- Use separate laundry baskets to minimize laundry sorting.
- Sit down when you fold or iron clothes.
- Use a bath mitt or a long-handled brush while showering.
- Install or replace knobs (doors, faucets etc.) with levers to make it easy to control using your palm.
- Use compression garments during the day to help support your joints or provide relief to aching joints.
- Zipper pulls or a loop chain, even a paper clip, can help make zippers easier to grasp.
- Trade in laces for velcros.
- At work, keep all your important files and supplies within reach.
- Use work assist arms or wrist rests for your keyboard.
- Use felt-tip pens instead of ballpoint, which requires less pressure when writing.
- Wear comfortable shoes that provide good ankle support.
The pressure of maintaining your quality of life when you have to live with chronic pain may seem overwhelming. But these simple, practical tips have proven to be useful for countless of other arthritis sufferers. Give it a try and let us know how well it has helped you.
If you want to try using compression sleeves to manage arthritis, contact us today or visit our Amazon link to browse through our entire selection of compression sleeves, braces and straps designed to help manage your joints.