Living with Arthritis
The following ‘tools or tips' of living with arthritis, could show you the way forward. Contact us for any further information.
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Tips for Living Well -Pain and associated discomfort is one of the main presentations of arthritis. It increases and decreases as the disease flares or subsides due to remission, but never entirely disappear.
The pain is best managed by a combination of therapeutic strategies. Pain medicines alone are never enough to provide non-stop pain relief safely. Medicines are supplemented with many strategies like the following:
- Improving the joint functions by regular exercise
- Modifying the daily-living activities so as to prevent stress on the joints
- Providing joint protection and support
- Correction of deformities
- Healthy diet
Learning to deal with the emotional stresses of
- Complimentary treatments
Exercising Regularly -The commonest excuse not to exercise is the presence of Arthritis. On the contrary it has been proven time and again that appropriate exercise schedule will not only decrease the pain, but improve overall fitness and help in emotional balance and coping with the disease. Before you start you must consult your doctor or physiotherapist and choose an appropriate program for yourself. Everyone will be best benefited by a tailor made schedule as per the disease, damage, deformity and capability.
Managing Daily Activities -Arthritis can turn even the simplest self grooming tasks like dressing, washing or brushing your hair or teeth, into a real challenge. Feeling tired and drained of energy only makes things worse. Daily activities like preparing a meal, washing clothes or dishes, or other house hold work or professional activities like driving, computing or even writing becomes difficult to perform leading to reduced overall functional capabilities which have been classified by American College of Rheumatology as the following:
- Functional Grade I: Can perform all activities
- Functional Grade II: Unable to perform vocational activities
- Functional Grade III: Unable to perform self grooming or vocational activities
- Functional Grade IV: Bed ridden
Providing joint protection and support -Joint protection by way of how they should be used and joint support by the use of splints lead to:
- Improved function
- Reduced pain
- Prevention of deformity
- Overcoming the disability
Correction of deformities -After the disease has been stopped or remission sets in, dealing with deformities can be undertaken in order to repair the damage and overcome disability. Many surgical and non-surgical options may be considered.
The non-surgical options like Intra-articular procedures can be chosen amongst the following:
- Intra-articular injections of glucocorticoids
- Intra-articular Tidal leavage
- Visco-elastic supplements
- Arthroscopic procedures like Synovectomy for debulking the joint and Tidal leavage
- Botulinum toxin injections for pain
- Deformity correction by tendon transplant and other soft tissue procedures
- Joint fixation
- Open synovectomy
- Joint replacement
Dealing with Emotions -Dealing with the fact that your disease is probably a life long situation is emotionally highly taxing, and can lead to severe depression. The disease could lead to severe socio-economical losses like family unrest, reduced or loss of performance at work or the loss of job or chance of promotion, inability to enjoy sports or recreation leading to feeling of deprivation and helplessness.
Healthy diet -In the olden days many diet restrictions were heaped upon the patients resulting in malnutrition and failure of treatment. There habits still exist and the taboos are difficult to overcome. Anyone meeting an arthritis patient will suggest some diet restriction.
Complementary Therapies -There are a number of alternative or complementary therapies that may offer real benefits to some people with arthritis, and increasingly these days, doctors and scientists are accepting that some of these previously dismissed therapies merit investigation.
Some of these therapies in fact - such as acupuncture - have been embraced by a good number of physicians and are being used widely by patients. Other therapies like acupressure, aroma therapy, magnet-therapy and many more do not do anything to the disease process, but help in relieving pain and overcoming disability. The results, however, are highly individual, and not all complementary therapies have equal validity. Before you try anything outside your treatment plan, learn what you can about these things. Then talk to your doctor about them.