8 ways to Live Better with Arthritis
Any type of arthritis can cause severe pain and stiffness, which can be difficult to manage. It can make it difficult to complete fundamental everyday tasks that most people do without blinking an eye. Putting on socks, cooking dinner, or even a quick dust around the living room, can be exhausting.
As a result, taking good care of yourself is critical for a variety of reasons, including pain relief and increased mobility. Regardless of what type of arthritis you have or which joints are affected, eating healthy meals, strengthening your muscles, losing excess weight (if overweight), and carefully moving your joints are all beneficial.
Making some simple lifestyle changes can help you conserve energy, protect your joints, and make accomplishing basic everyday tasks just a little bit easier.
- Exercise/Moving your joints. Avoid remaining in the same place for an extended period of time. A short stretch every 15 minutes can help prevent an increase in pain or stiffness if you’re sitting at a desk or on the couch at home. Participating in low-impact aerobic exercise will keep your heart strong without hurting your joints (e.g., walking/swimming)
- Avoid putting stress on your joints. Avoid any motions or positions that place additional strain on your joints. If you have arthritis in your hands and fingers, for example, opening tight jars can be difficult. Purchase a jar opener that is placed on the wall and twist the jar with both hands.
- Find your strength. Use the strongest joints/muscles in your body to complete everyday tasks. For example: Push open heavier doors with your shoulder instead of using your finger and wrist joints, and to protect your hip or knee joints, lead with your stronger leg when going up the stairs and the weaker leg when going down.
- Organization is key. Organizing your home to make daily life easier will help you avoid doing things that unnecessary or repetitive. For example – Keep duplicate cleaning materials in different locations, a set of cleaning supplies in the bathroom and a set in the kitchen – this will save you going up and down the stairs several times and lugging objects with you.
- Use labour-saving items. There are many household devices you can purchase in order to make small jobs easier. For example, electric can openers and mixers, shoehorns, spray on cleaners to avoid scrubbing.
- Small home modifications. Many people with arthritis install grab bars or handrails in the shower to hold on to while bathing or to assist them in and out of the bathtub/shower, as well as a shower chair or stool for people with arthritis in the legs to prevent slipping or falling. These are often minor adjustments that make a significant difference in daily life.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. In order to achieve a balance of independence and ease, don’t be afraid to ask friends or family members for assistance with certain tasks you find difficult, as well as educate them on the limitations that come with having Arthritis.
- Financial Assistance. Apply for the Disability Tax Credit to assist with the additional financial burden caused by living with Arthritis. For Canadians of all ages living with the disease, arthritis has an enormous impact on quality of life. A prolonged course of arthritis may result in extended periods of pain and suffering, reduced sleep, depression, and unemployment. One in three people living with arthritis who were surveyed reported they were forced to quit their job because of their arthritis.