We are considering how best to manage arthritis. What we have outlined below are our observations from working closely with patients, therefore they may not appear in any research papers!
Although, we cannot prevent arthritis we can take steps to limit its affect on our daily lives. There are a few basic principles we regularly discuss with our patients. These are:
A balanced lifestyle
Keeping a balance in your life can ensure that your joints are not over or underworked. Maintaining strength (e.g. walking) and flexibility (e.g. avoiding static postures for > 45mins) of your joints is key, however recovery tends to be longer in arthritic joints, so rest is equally important.
Avoid repetitive activities
Joints are designed to move and this ensures they function well. However, performing the same type of movement each day results in the same joints and muscles being used. This can ultimately lead to fatigue and irritation of your joints. Therefore, try to alter your activities on a day to day basis.
We are all made differently and are at different stages of our lives. So be realistic about what you can do in a day and plan breaks in between.
Listen to your body
Pain is our body’s warning signal that is best listened to. Adjusting your surroundings to suit your physical abilities may help reduce the frequency of these pain signals. e.g. if bending is difficult, place regularly used dishes at shoulder height to avoid bending.
Manual therapies such as osteopathy or physiotherapy can help keep your joints and muscles healthy by stretching your muscles, articulating your joints and prescribing exercises to help strengthen your muscles. Medication can also help with your pain (consult your GP).