Being diagnosed with arthritis doesn't mean resigning to inactivity and pain. There are ways to help diminish the discomfort. Here are a few tips to help you keep on keeping on:
Know your enemy
Study, research, and learn all you can about your disease. Knowledge is empowering and will help you feel more in control and less victimized.
Watch your weight
Every pound you lose reduces the stress on your joints by 4 pounds. This may seem like a daunting task when the thought of moving at all causes you pain, but see number 3.
It was once thought that exercise exacerbated arthritis pain; however, studies show the opposite to be true. Exercise decreases pain, increases range of motion, strengthens your muscles and builds your endurance. That being said you should avoid high-impact routines such as running, jumping and alternate low impact activities, such as swimming, walking and cycling with strength training and stretching. Consider programs such as Tai Chi, which also promotes relaxation. An additional benefit to a regular workout regime is the release of "feel good" endorphins which counteract the depression that often accompanies a diagnosis.
Try non-traditional adjuncts to traditional medicine
Acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage therapy have been shown to help alleviate pain and increase range of motion.
Incorporate pain-relieving herbs and foods into your diet
Arthritis is an inflammatory disease. You can help fight it with anti-inflammatory herbs and foods. Omega-3 fatty acids, extra virgin olive oil, carotene, turmeric, ginger, bioflavonoids, selenium, vitamin C are all beneficial. There are many foods and spices with analgesic properties. Try chewing on a stalk of celery or grab some red grapes or cherries. Eat more fish. Drink soy milk. Do your own research and discover the superfoods that help fight pain. Try to avoid red meat, which has been linked to increased pain and inflammation.
Allow yourself to stop if the pain becomes too much. Don't try to push your way through. Take a nap. Get adequate sleep. Don't beat yourself up for not being able to do things you might have been able to in the past. This is counter-productive. Focus on the things you can do.
Adjust your position frequently
Try not to sit or stand in one position for too long. Stop and stretch frequently. Get up and take a stroll around the room. Do some gentle neck and shoulder circles. Lift your legs.
Darling, if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times - attitude is everything! Try to keep a positive outlook. This directly affects your brain chemistry which greatly affects your level of pain. Do your best to feel fabulous!
Journal the journey
Keep a journal and don't hold back. Pour your heart out when you think that this diagnosis is unfair. Write your blessings on days when you feel particularly good. This is a great way to get the pain out of you and onto paper.
Whatever you do, don't stop living. Enjoy every moment and remember that there is opposition in all things and as badly as you may feel today, there are better days ahead!