Having arthritis doesn’t mean you have to miss out on doing the things you love. While there is no cure, with the right support, planning, and treatment, it is more than possible for seniors with arthritis to stay active and healthy.
The most commonly affected joints tend to be in the hands, knees, hips and spine; however, it can develop anywhere in the body. Although symptoms of arthritis vary from person to person- and depending on the type of arthritis present-some of the most common symptoms include:
- Joints inflammation
- Difficulty moving a joint
Other than taking the medication prescribed by your doctor, is there anything that you can do to ease the pain? Check out these tips from All Seniors Care.
Coping With Arthritis Pain
First things first: Make sure you’ve been following your doctor’s advice on pain management. Once that’s taken care of, look at how you can make lifestyle changes to help you cope with pain related to arthritis.
If you have joint inflammation, it’s important to keep moving as much as you can. It might seem as though it could make your symptoms worse, but in reality, the worst thing you can do is sit still because joint lubrication relies on movement.
Exercise is one of the most important treatments for arthritis. Exercise can:
- Reduce pain
- Maintain mobility of joints
- Strengthen muscles around your joints
- Exercise maintains a healthy body weight which takes the pressure off
- Improve posture balance and overall health
Exercise for seniors in general improves your overall health and fitness. However, this should not be overly strenuous. Focus on low-impact exercises like yoga, swimming, aqua aerobics, and strength training.
Above all, don’t stop – adapt. Ask our expert activity and wellness staff about how you can modify your favourite activities so that you can stay active and have fun! All our senior housing options across the country offer opportunities for seniors to get up and get moving.
About 70-80% of your joint cartilage is made of water, so it comes as no surprise that a lack of hydration can make your joint pain worse. Dehydration can also be a hidden source of fatigue, headaches, confusion, and other symptoms.
Overall, when you’re well hydrated your body functions better, your joints feel better and you have more energy. You need at least 2 litres of fluids (eight 8-ounce glasses) a day, depending on your activity level and how hot and dry the weather is.
We know that water can get a bit boring. Try supplementing with tea or juice. Just be mindful that many juices contain a high amount of sugar – try mixing half and half with water to get the best of both worlds.
The best type of diet for any type of arthritis is a balanced diet that focuses on general health and healthy body weight. Being overweight will increase stress on joints, leading to increased pain and difficulty moving. Even losing a few extra kilograms can make a big difference.
Eating the right foods can help you get enough essential vitamins and minerals to improve your bone health and cartilage strength. Take a look at our superfoods for seniors to read about some good choices for your dinner plate.
The culinary team at All Seniors Care works hard to make sure that every meal is as nutritious as it is delicious. You can rest assured that you are getting a wholesome, balanced diet when you sign up for these daily dining services.
4. Maintain Good Sleep Habits
Research shows that pain, sleep, and inflammation are inextricably linked. A restful night’s sleep often starts with developing good sleep hygiene:
- Try to stick to a routine. Go to bed at the same time every single night.
- Get warm and comfortable bedding, blankets, pillows, and pyjamas.
- Keep your bedroom a little cooler than other rooms.
- Turn off your computer, cell phone, and television an hour before bedtime.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol close to your bedtime.
For more tips on how to get a better night sleep, click here.
5. Try Heat Therapy
Applying heat to your joints can ease inflammation and pain. When you’re feeling especially sore, you can take a soak in a warm bath or take a long shower. If you’re resting on the couch, you can put an electric heating pad or a hot water bottle on your affected area. The pain will melt away.
Just be careful not to burn yourself.
6. Avoid stress
Arthritic joints can’t tolerate as much stress as healthy joints. Pushing, pulling or twisting motions can be painful. Think about ways you can avoid unnecessarily stressing your joints.
As a general guideline, if pain persists for one hour after you do an activity, consider changing how you do it. For example:
- Take rest breaks.
- Use adaptive tools.
- Alternate between sitting and stretching, and light and moderate activities, throughout the day.
- If you have pain in your feet, wear proper shoes. Ask your doctor or occupational therapist for specific recommendations.
From stress on your joints to stress on your emotions, people with arthritis can benefit from learning to cope with stress in a positive way. The key to managing stress has three parts:
- Learn how to reduce stress.
- Learn how to accept what you can’t change.
- Learn how to overcome the harmful effects of stress.
At all our senior housing communities, we take stress seriously. Follow our Facebook page so that you don’t miss out weekly stress busting tips published every Monday!
Ask for Help
“I need help”, is often one of the hardest things for people to say.
Maintaining independence is essential to self-esteem, but independence at all costs is a recipe for disaster.
Living with arthritis can be disruptive and disconcerting. The pain and stiffness can make it difficult to perform the daily tasks most people take for granted. Even things like putting on socks or cooking dinner can be exhausting. Therefore, it’s important to ask for help.