5 Tips for Managing Arthritis
Arthritis is a common condition affecting many older Australians, causing pain and stiffness in the muscles, bones and joints, which can often lead to reduced mobility. While arthritis can be challenging, there are several strategies and lifestyle changes that can help manage its symptoms and improve overall quality of life. Let's take a look at 5 tips for effectively managing arthritis, empowering older Australians to take control of their condition and live a fulfilling life.
1. Stay Active with Low-Impact Exercises
Regular exercise is crucial for managing arthritis symptoms. Engaging in low-impact activities, such as walking, swimming, or cycling, can help strengthen muscles, reduce joint stiffness, and improve flexibility. We recommend consulting with a healthcare professional or a physiotherapist to develop an exercise plan tailored to your needs and abilities. Our experienced in-home aged carers can escort you to your appointments and assist with the implementation of your new exercise routine. Remember to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity to avoid overexertion and listen to your body's signals. You can also check out our recent article about the top exercises for seniors to keep active at home.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Excess weight puts additional strain on joints, worsening arthritis symptoms. Managing and maintaining a healthy weight can significantly reduce pain and improve joint function. It is recommended to incorporate a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. To make sure you are eating the most optimal foods for your nutritional needs, we encourage our clients to consult with their GP or a dietitian and develop a personalised meal plan. Our experienced carers can also assist with meal planning, shopping and meal preparation to keep you on track. Additionally, drinking plenty of water helps keep joints lubricated and aids in overall health.
3. Use Assistive Equipment and Joint Protection Techniques
Assistive equipment and joint protection techniques can alleviate stress on arthritic joints, making daily tasks easier and less painful. Consider using equipment such as canes, walkers, or ergonomic tools designed to reduce strain on the joints. Implement joint protection techniques, such as maintaining good posture, using larger joints for heavy lifting, and taking frequent breaks during activities that involve repetitive motions. These measures are important for preventing further damage and preserving joint function.
4. Prioritise Rest and Manage Fatigue
Fatigue is a common symptom of arthritis and can exacerbate pain and discomfort. It is essential to listen to your body's needs and prioritise rest. Establish a regular sleep routine and ensure you get adequate quality sleep. Pace yourself throughout the day and take short breaks between activities to prevent overexertion. Some find it beneficial to incorporate relaxation techniques into their daily routine such as deep breathing, meditation, or gentle stretching to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
5. Seek Support and Learn Self-Management Techniques
Living with arthritis can be physically and emotionally challenging, but you don't have to face it alone. Seek support from healthcare professionals, such as rheumatologists, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists, who can provide guidance on managing arthritis symptoms effectively. They can teach you self-management techniques, including joint protection techniques, pain management strategies, and how to best use assistive equipment.
Additionally, consider joining support groups or connecting with other individuals living with arthritis to share experiences, advice, and emotional support. And don't feel ashamed to lean on your family or in-home carer when you need additional support, whether it be for heavy lifting, assisting when you are in pain or just for someone to talk to.
We hope that by incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you can reduce pain, increase mobility, and enhance your overall well-being. Remember to consult with healthcare professionals for personalised advice and guidance tailored to your specific needs.