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Tips for Avoiding Arthritis Joint Pain and Complications

Posted Aug 20 2014 12:45pm

Not only do individuals with arthritis, both osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), frequently experience joint pain, but they are also at risk of developing complications. However, there are certain things they can do to decrease their risk of pain and complications. The following tips are designed to do just that.

Preventing Arthritis Pain
  • Stay active to manage pain and stiffness, as well as manage your weight. Weight control is also an important factor in preventing complications from arising. It is a good idea to take your pain medications about an hour before working out to prevent intense pain.
  • Consider taking glucosamine supplements. Glucosamine has been shown to alleviate joint stiffness and pain, especially with OA in the knees.
  • Utilize heat and cold therapy to decrease stiffness, reduce swelling, and alleviate pain.
  • Use topical analgesics, such as capsaicin, to relieve mild pain.
  • Pay attention to your diet. There are certain foods, such as ginger, those that contain omega-3 fatty acids, and more, that have been shown to decrease inflammation and pain.
Take measures to protect your joints.
  • Changes positions frequently. When sitting, make certain to get up every 30 minutes and move around. If sitting for long periods, place a foot stool in front of you. Rest one leg on the stool at a time to take weight off its joints. Alternate legs approximately every 15 to 30 minutes.
  • When lifting or carrying items, be certain to use the proper lifting technique. If at all possible, slide things rather than lift them.
  • Ask for assistance. Be aware that arthritis causes limitations. Instead of trying to do everything alone, don't be afraid to ask for help.
  • Women should avoid high heeled shoes.
  • Space out your activities throughout the day, as well as the week and month, to prevent you from overexerting yourself. Overexertion can further damage your joints, increase inflammation, and intensify pain.
Preventing Complications
  • Make certain to visit your doctor when you first begin experiencing symptoms associated with arthritis. Early detection and treatment are one of the top ways to prevent complications from occurring.
  • Boost the amount of calcium in your diet. Calcium is vital to keep your bones strong, as well as decrease your risk of osteoporosis.
  • Participate in physical activities that rest your joints, such as swimming or taking hikes. Staying active and controlling your weight can significantly decrease your risk of developing complications later.
  • Take your medications as ordered by your physician. In addition, make certain to follow all other instructions, such as having labs drawn. This is particularly important for individuals diagnosed with RA.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking reduces your bone mass. As a result, individuals who smoke have a higher risk of breaking a bone. Fractures increase your risk of developing complications.
  • The inflammation that results from RA can lead to lung diseases. Additionally, certain medications for RA, such as Methotrexate, have been linked to lung damage in some patients. Be aware of signs of lung problems, such as shortness of breath, dry cough, fatigue, and weakness. If you develop any of these symptoms, see a doctor as soon as possible.
  • Be aware that heart disease is a common complication resulting from RA. As a result, make certain to take care of your heart. This includes watching your diet, obtaining regular physicals, and participating in plenty of heart healthy exercises.
  • Keep in mind that there is a potential link between diabetes and arthritis. Be alert for signs and symptoms that your blood glucose levels may be out of normal range and consult your physician.
  • The second most common problem associated with RA (inflammation is first) is anemia. This results from an iron deficiency in the body and leaves you feeling unusually tired. Make certain to have lab testing performed as ordered to monitor your hemoglobin and hematocrit levels. If iron supplements are ordered by your physician, take them as ordered.
  • It is not uncommon for RA patients to develop Sjogren 's syndrome, an inflammatory condition that affects the salivary and tear glands. If you begin to show symptoms, such as irritated eyes, dry mouth, and gritty or burning eyes, be sure to see your doctor as soon as possible.

Arthritis sufferers do not have to resign themselves to a life of pain and complications. Following the tips above can help decrease pain, as well as your risk of complications in the future.

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