Coping with Arthritis
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a condition that causes pain and stiffness of one or more joints. Sometimes it also causes redness or swelling.
There are different kinds of arthritis. Two common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Will the arthritis get worse as I get older?
Osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis that results from the wearing down of joints, particularly tends to get worse over time. The older you get, the more worn your joints become. Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation (redness and swelling), stiffness, and deformity, especially on the joints of the hands, arms, and feet.
Muscles and joints that are not used tend to stiffen up. You can protect yourself against stiffening up by gently exercising your muscles and joints.
How much should I exercise?
You need to exercise just enough to keep your muscles strong and joints mobile. It is much better to exercise often for short periods of time and rest in between than to exercise strenuously every once in awhile. Exercise gently without straining or jarring your joints. Wear comfortable, well cushioned shoes, and avoid high-impact activities such as jogging on hard surfaces like concrete.
Should I use heat or ice?
Both heating pads and ice packs can help reduce pain and stiffness in a joint. Try both and see what works best for you. You might fond it helpful to put heat on your joints before gentle exercise and then to use ice afterward.
Can arthritis be cured or controlled?
So far, there is no cure for arthritis, but medication can control the pain and reduce inflammation so that you can keep moving. Many medications for arthritis, such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen can be bought without a prescription. Because there are different kinds of arthritis, you should talk to you doctor about which medications are best for you and the type of arthritis you have. When you take medication, make sure you do not take more then the recommended dosage.
Primary Care Group
Sloan Medical Clinic
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