Let me think aloud – please show me one person, above 50, who does not experience occasional waist and back pain, then I will show you a super human.
Yes, almost everybody at one time or the other has signs and symptoms of arthritis, it may be mild or severe.
• Arthritis has been so pervasive that Dr Grant Hughes reviewed thousands of cases of arthritis and stated that – it is a fact that there is no cure for most types of arthritis. But it is not as hopeless as that sounds.
• You can fight arthritis. You can actually manage the disease as long as you are committed to the fight and are fighting the right way – ie doing the right thing consistently.
• Fighting arthritis is about i) reducing joint pain, ii) decreasing arthritis symptoms iii) slowing disease progression and iv) minimising it’s intrusiveness in your life – and all the while maintaining joint functions, mobility, independence and normalcy
• Here are 10 ways to approach the fight. Collectively this may arguably be the optimal way to fight arthritis.
1) Take your prescribed medications.
Your doctor has likely prescribed medications to help control your pain, and other arthritis symptoms. As well as medication that may affect the progression of the disease. For the medication to be effective you must take them as directed.
2) Eat a healthy diet and include – anti inflammatory foods.
People with arthritis, especially inflammatory type of arthritis – should learn which foods are thought to increase inflammation and which food reduce inflammation.
• Trial and error to see if any changes to your diet make a difference is worth your effort in the fight against arthritis.
3) Participate in regular exercise and physical activity.
To reiterate, we who live with arthritis must do all of these things to fight the good fight.
• Exercise, movement, and physical activity are essential for strengthening muscles around the joints. It also helps to maintain or improve bone strength, as well as overall strength and energy level.
• Exercise also impacts on sleep quality, the ability to maintain your ideal weight, and overall wellness.
•. Daily exercise is preferable, but if not possible then do it regularly as permissible.
4) Get adequate sleep – it is essential.
People with arthritis think it just goes with the territory, to sleep less due to arthritic discomfort, that nothing could be done to solve it. Please discuss inadequate sleep with your doctor. He knows what to do.
5) Focus on joint protection during daily activities.
Improper body mechanics i.e. movements, can increase pain in arthritic joints and possibly injure healthy joints.
• Joint protection include using assistive devices, balancing rest and activity, and not carrying excessive weight, which adds burden to the joints.
6) Make an effort to lower your stress level.
It has been suggested that stress may be a trigger for certain types of arthritis – such as rheumatoid arthritis.
• Many people with rheumatoid arthritis are able to point to a stressful event in their lives, that occurred within months of their initial symptoms.
• It is a known theory that stress can provoke a flare up of arthritis. So avoid every form of stress.
7) If you need help ask!
Physical limitations and functional limitations are part of living with arthritis.
• You may be forced by arthritis to ask for help, please do not hesitate. It is part of fighting the effects of arthritis.
8) Say “yes” to something everyday.
Arthritis can be a great intruder. It can enter your life and disrupt normalcy.
• Catch yourself as you are about to say “no” to something and switch it up by saying “yes” instead.
9) Say “no” to something everyday!
There are physical limitations that are real, you must learn to respect that
• It is not only okay to say “no”, sometimes it is necessary.
10) Assess and re-assess your struggles constantly.
Recognise your struggles i) Is your pain not adequately controlled? ii) Are you depressed? iii) Are you isolated and lonely? iv) Are you having trouble keeping up with your work inside the home, or at your job? v) Are you having financial problems due to the cost of medical care and treatment? vi) Do you feel that no one understands?
• Please contact your doctor or send me an email for a help line. Be medically guided.
Written by Dr Ojum Ekeoma Ogwo
Please follow me on twitter ; @ _ DRSUN.