If you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis, you know it can be scary and overwhelming. You likely have information overload, and you may be stressed about your future. While a chronic illness can be difficult and overwhelming, we have some tips below to help you in managing arthritis.
- Be organized. Staying organized by tracking your symptoms, pain levels, medications, and side effects can help you to feel more in control of your disease. You will feel more like an active participant, instead of something this is just happening to. You can then use this information to talk with your doctor, who can change your treatment plan or offer suggestions as needed.
- Manage pain. Pain is one of the hardest parts about arthritis, and you don’t want it to take over your life. Talk to your doctor about medications to manage your pain and ask about natural pain therapies or remedies for arthritis as well.
- Address emotions. Being diagnosed with a chronic disease can be very hard on you emotionally. You’re not alone in your feelings. They are normal and completely valid. Consider joining a support group for people living with arthritis and/or see a mental health professional.
- Rest and combat fatigue. Resting and getting enough sleep is crucial with arthritis, but the pain associated with it can make that hard. Limit screen time before bed, keep a regular schedule, limit caffeine, and exercise regularly to help your sleep. If nothing is working, talk to your doctor. They may be able to offer additional advice, and they can also prescribe sleep medications if nothing seems to work.
- Get moving. While exercise is often not what you want to do when you’re in pain, exercise can actually help your pain. Strengthening muscles can offer more support to your painful joints and help keep them mobile. Exercise also improves sleep, boosts your mood, and can help you lose weight that may be causing more strain on your painful joints.
- Eat healthy. Healthy eating, in combination with exercise, can help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight. You can also add anti-inflammatory foods like tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, nuts, fatty fish, and fruits like strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges.