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Many privileges come with age, including being able to drive, to vote, to legally consume alcohol, and to become eligible for senior discounts on groceries, hotel rooms, and dinner at favorite restaurants. With age also comes responsibility, and for some people, aging also means an increased chance of developing some form of arthritis. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently estimates that 50 million Americans are suffering1 from the painful symptoms of arthritis. As life expectancy continues to increase and people live longer, fuller lives, the prevalence of arthritis is also expected to increase. What can a person do to manage the pain and continue to improve their quality of life?
Managing the Most Common Types of Arthritis
In the United States, the most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, gout, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis. Depending on the type of arthritis that a person suffers from, they may feel pain and stiffness around one or several of their joints. Many people develop arthritis in their hands, knees, and feet as they age, and symptoms can come on suddenly or gradually and persist over time. Living with chronic pain that a person has never had before may cause feelings of depression if they are not able to maintain the active lifestyle they once enjoyed.
Because arthritis is a chronic condition, one of the best things that a person can do for themself is to control the pain. Treatments often focus on minimizing damage to the joints as well so someone can improve or maintain their quality of life.
Using Traditional and Alternative Medications To Manage The Disease
Over the counter or prescription pain medications can make living with arthritis more tolerable. Doing personal research can help ensure that nothing in our diet will interact negatively with the pills we are taking. For example, with some Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, eating grapefruit can affect the way the body absorbs medications. And increasingly, arthritis patients are exploring alternative medications and treatments, like cinnamon and even magnetic cushions. Before opening both our minds and our purses to these non-traditional options, it is important to study each one and consult a doctor.
Physical Therapy Can Aid With Arthritis Symptoms
For many arthritis suffers, at the onset of the disease, the first thing they do is to stop doing anything at all. It hurts to move, so they stop moving, exercising, even doing basic housework. Inactivity is as detrimental as overexertion when for a person who has arthritis. Movement keeps the joints flexible. Physical therapy or occupational therapy can help work the joints that are affected by arthritis and therefore minimize the damage that is done to the joints in the long term and while also improving the range of joint motion.
Using Braces Or Splints To Suppport Painful Joints
For a person suffering from arthritis of the wrist, for example, wearing a supportive brace that can be taken on and off as needed, can help keep the joints stable to experience less pain from movement. Or, for someone who has arthritis in the knees, a knee brace might help to provide the additional support needed. Braces and splints can be custom fitted or purchased over the counter. Here, checking with a person’s insurance provider can allow them to determine what, if any, coverage they have to buy the best support apparatus for their needs.
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