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So you’ve just been diagnosed with arthritis. Don’t worry. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not as debilitating as you might think—as long as you keep in mind the dos and don’ts of managing your condition.

For starters…

…don’t feel like you’ve been singled out and given the short end of the stick. Arthritis is a very common condition and is in fact one of the leading causes of pain and disability around the world.  That said, it’s important that you communicate with your doctor any symptoms that arise, whether you’re certain that they are arthritis related or not.

Having all the information and your complete medical history will ultimately help your doctor give you better options to manage your condition.

Adjusting your everyday routine

  • DO try to incorporate gentle exercises in the evening so that your joints feel less stiff in the morning.

  • DON’T overdo it—the key thing to remember is that you have to pace yourself.

  • DO take frequent breaks throughout the day, especially if your daily routine involves a lot of walking or standing, so you don’t overuse a single joint.

Lifestyle changes you have to make

  • DO maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can cause arthritis complications that add to the pain.

  • DON’T try to crash diet either—make sure that you consult a doctor on how you can make incremental and long-term changes to your diet so you can manage your weight.

  • DO quit smoking as smoking can add stress to your connective tissues which results in more pain.

When it comes to exercise

  • DO research into the kind of activities that are best suited for you given your condition.

  • DON’T focus on high impact, repetitive exercises—focus on improving your range of motion, strengthening your muscles and increasing your endurance.

  • DO explore low-impact aerobic exercises such as walking, cycling, and water exercises.

  • DON’T attempt to exercise without consulting an expert—even if you are given the go signal to try more high-impact activities, it’s likely that you will be asked to use some kind of compression support to help manage your condition.

What to keep in mind for medication

  • DO use over-the-counter pain medications to help manage the pain.

  • DON’T ignore severe and prolonged arthritis pain—this may be indicative of a more serious damage to your joints.

  • DO use topical analgesics along with compression sleeves to help manage pain.

  • DON’T neglect to tell your doctor about any medication that you use, even if they are just over-the-counter remedies.

When choosing a sleeve, be sure to consider what you intend to use it for. Again, nothing can replace an informed medical diagnosis from a trusted physician, but being aware and mindful of your condition and options means you can manage your condition better.

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