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7 ways to manage arthritis

Sore joints can slow you down, but they don’t have to stop you from being active. We look at the causes and assistance for this common disease.

As we age, it is a sad fact that our body is not what it once was. Things creak that never used to and even the simple act of getting out of a chair can be cause for a minor groan or two. But if you have arthritis – a general umbrella term for diseases that affect the joints, muscles and bones – things can be a lot worse.

Also known as musculoskeletal diseases, arthritis can cause pain and swelling in the joints, stiffness or reduced range of movement, or just a general malaise when you need to be on the move.

The first thing to find out is what sort of condition you have, so start with a visit to your doctor. Your GP will discuss your symptoms and give you a complete examination. Because arthritis takes many forms, it might not be a simple case of working out what you have.

1. Managing pain

When you have a diagnosis, you can start with reducing the pain in your daily life. Depending on your diagnosis you might be able to take medicine that will help with your condition, but there are also a number of other things you can do no matter what type of arthritis you have.

2. Keep moving

When it hurts to move the temptation is to stop, but staying active is a key part of beating arthritis. Physical activity helps keep your joints flexible and your bones strong.

3. Watch what you eat

While there is nothing you can eat that will magically fix your arthritis, a balanced diet can help with your energy levels, and maintaining a healthy weight can take pressure of sore joints and bones.

4. Take a load off

Try using stockings, medical aids and even bandages and wraps to help support your joints. Boxers wrap their hands before a fight, so don’t be shy of wrapping your joints if it helps relieve the pain.

5. Talk to someone

Living with chronic pain can feel very lonely, but there are a number of support groups around that can help you with tips and reducing that feeling of isolation.

6. Research your condition

What type of arthritis do you have? Hit the books and find out as much as you can about your type of arthritis. And keep an eye out for any medical developments you can ask your GP about.

7. Apply heat and cold

Icing or warming the affected area is one way to help manage pain. When your muscles are inflamed, an ice pack can help reduce inflammation and get your back on your feet.

A diagnosis of arthritis is never a happy moment, but with the right management you can still live a rewarding and active life.