If you’re one of the 9 million people in the UK living with symptoms of osteoarthritis, you may find some aspects of daily life more difficult. Physical limitations can be frustrating and emotionally draining too. But there are things you can do to take control of your situation and improve your quality of life. Here we will look at what you can do to live well with osteoarthritis.
Eating a healthy balanced diet will give your body all the nutrients it needs to function optimally. It will also help you to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts undue stress on the joints, further increasing pain and reducing mobility.
Your diet should include:
- fruit and vegetables
- starchy foods – such as bread, rice, potatoes and pasta
- meat, fish, eggs and beans
- milk and dairy foods
- foods containing fat and sugar
It can be difficult to want to exercise if you have pain in your joints but, exercise can help reduce and prevent pain. It can also:
- improve your range of movement and joint mobility
- increase muscle strength
- reduce stiffness
- boost your energy
Doing the right kind of exercise won’t exacerbate your condition. For more information visit exercising with arthritis and exercises to manage pain.
Take care of your joints
Looking after your joints and reducing stress on them in everyday activities helps prevent further damage to them.
To help protect your joints:
- use larger, stronger joints as levers – for example, use your hip to close a drawer instead of your hand.
- use several joints to spread the weight of an object – don’t carry heavy objects on one side, distribute the weight evenly by using a rucksack.
- don’t grip too tightly – grip as loosely as possible or use a padded handle to widen your grip.
There are lots of gadgets available for people with arthritis to help make life easier. Take a look here.
Avoid being sedentary
Being sedentary isn’t good for anyone and has been linked to a variety of health conditions. But for those with arthritis, being sedentary makes joints less mobile. It may feel more comfortable in the short term to avoid any pain, but over the long term, joints will become less supple and more painful.
Getting a good night’s sleep each night will help combat the fatigue that can come with arthritis. But being well-rested will give you the energy and motivation to exercise each day and cook healthy meals. Not feeling exhausted can also help you cope with pain better.
Socialising with friends and family may not be at the top of your to-do list if you’re in pain, but it can be a great mood booster. It’s good to talk to those closest to you about what is happening with your condition too. It gives people the opportunity to offer you help when you may not have asked for it. It also gives them an understanding of your day-to-day struggles as an arthritis sufferer.
Surrounding yourself with people who know first-hand what you’re going through is also very useful. It reminds you that you’re not alone and can help with feelings of isolation. You may even learn a few life hacks to make simple tasks easier too. Ask your doctor or use an internet search to see if there are any local arthritis support groups near you. There are also many online support groups where you can meet and chat with others on the same journey as you from the comfort of your own home. The Arthritis Foundation is another great support resource.
Are some day-to-day tasks starting to feel overwhelming? Or maybe you don’t have many friends or relatives nearby that you can ask to help. Depending on your needs Eximius has a range of support available from daily check-ins, to 24/7 live-in support. If you’d like to know more about the support we offer we’d love to hear from you.