Arthritis is a chronic disease that affects as many as 50 million Americans. Although it encompasses more than 100 conditions that may have different origins, arthritis always involves inflammation of the joints which can lead to swelling, pain, and stiffness. While everyone’s experience of the disease is different, most arthritis sufferers will experience discomfort and limitation. Pain and limited joint mobility can compromise the ability to participate in and enjoy many activities of daily living. Fortunately, there are many treatment options that can mitigate the effects of the disease and promote quality of life.
Non-drug treatment approaches to arthritis, such as physical therapy, can improve mobility and reduce pain through specialized exercises, stretching, and manipulation of the joints, as well as the application of ice or heat, massage, and the use of splints and supports around the affected joint. Over-the-counter medications, like acetaminophen (a pain reliever) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can alleviate pain and swelling, particularly in the early stages of arthritis. For more severe symptoms, prescription narcotics, like oxycodone and hydrocodone, steroids, like cortisone, and disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS) may be indicated.
In addition to physical therapy and medication, arthritis sufferers can take proactive steps to improve their quality of life. In many cases, simple lifestyle changes can have a big impact on the health and wellbeing of people living with arthritis. Low-impact exercise, such as swimming and walking, can strengthen muscles that support the joints and improve flexibility and range of motion. Getting plenty of sleep can help to reduce the frequency and severity of arthritis flare-ups. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats (like those found in nuts, seeds, and fish) can help the body fight arthritis symptoms and improve overall health. Avoiding activities and positions that put stress on the affected joints is another way to minimize symptoms and improve joint health.
Edison Home Health Care is happy to advise and assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care of Arthritis problems. Give us a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form and we will respond shortly.