When you have an arthritic condition it is important that you take good care of your joints and protect them. This article gives recommendations on how you can protect your joints.
Because there is no cure for arthritis, treatment begins with self management. If you have an arthritic condition such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia, taking your daily medications can certainly alleviate your pain and may even slow the progrssion of your arthritis, but without self management, your quality of life may be decreased because of joint damage that could have been prevented.
If you have arthritis, one of the main goals is to protect your joints to avoid further damage. Here are some tips to help you protect your arthritic joints:
Respect your pain:
Pain is a signal from your body that something is wrong. Arthritis causes chronic pain that may become worse after performing an activity incorrectly or overexerting yourself. You will need to learn your limits and take extra care when you have painful flair-ups.
Avoid improper positions:
Using good posture and performing daily activities the right way can help protect arthritic joints. For example, don't slouch in front of your computer - keep your head, neck and back straight, your hips and knees at a 90 degree angle, uncross your legs and keep your feet flat on the floor. This can help decrease any unnecessary pain.
Maintain your ideal body weight:
When you have an arthritic condition, and are overweight or obese, you end up putting too much pressure on your joints. The excess weight can cause your joints to wear out sooner than if you were at your ideal weight. Too much weight on your joints will also cause increased pain and inflammation.
Avoid staying in the same position too long:
Taking frequent stretch breaks will help reduce joint pain and stiffness. If you work at a computer, get up and walk around your office every half hour. Stretch your hands and fingers every time you take a break. During long car trips, stop at rest areas every hour to get out of the car and stretch your joints. Walk around the rest area for a few minutes and stretch your legs.
Use your larger joints and muscles for heavy tasks:
Knuckles and fingers can become very delicate when you have arthritis. Use your palms to push yourself up from a chair or toilet seat. Carry your purse by holding it in your arms, not by grasping the handles by your fingers and letting it hang. Using your fingers for these and other tasks will cause severe pain and stiffness that's hard to ease.
Use assistive devices:
Using assistive devices such as wheelchairs, walkers and canes, can take some or all (wheelchair) of the pressure off of your joints, decreasing pain. You can also use "grabbers" to reach things that are too high or otherwise out of your reach. There are also special utensils available for arthritic people, that comforms to your hands and enables you to get a better grip on them.
Maintain muscle strength and joint range of motion:
Stay fit and exercise regularly to build muscle and keep joints moving well. Range of motion exercises should be done daily to keep your joints moving well. Range of motion refers to the full range in which you can move a joint.
When you have an arthritic disease or condition, you need to take care of yourself and protect your joints. Without adequate protection, your joints can become swollen, painful, and in time they can become un-useable. The better care you give your joints, the longer your joints will last, which may keep you from having to have a joint replaced someday.
For more information about how to protect you joints, visit The Joint Protection Handbook website.