Arthritis: Ways to manage your symptoms – ‘some do’s and don’ts’

Dr Hilary discusses arthritis drugs tocilizumab and sarilumab

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Unfortunately arthritis can be very painful for some people with the condition, and may impact people of all ages. The symptoms of arthritis you experience will vary depending on the type you have. Nonetheless, there are a number of tips to help with arthritis symptoms, and the Mayo Clinic has outlined some “do’s and don’ts” around easing the pain of arthritis.

The Mayo Clinic has also outlined some things which it recommends people with arthritis pain adopt.

These include keeping active and exercising regularly. “Focus on stretching, range-of-motion exercises and gradual progressive strength training.”

It also suggests you should include low-impact aerobic exercise, such as walking, cycling or water exercises.

Avoid activities that involve high impact and repetitive motion, such as running and jumping.

The site suggests keeping everyday routines, including keeping your joints moving. “Do daily, gentle stretches that move your joints through their full range of motion,” it says.

Nonetheless, it adds that you should “know your limits” and balance activity and rest.

People with arthritis should also aim for a good posture.

“Pay attention to your joints, whether sitting, standing or engaging in activity,” the Mayo Clinic recommends.

There are also some lifestyle habits and changes that might help manage symptoms.

These include eating a healthy diet and managing your weight. If you are overweight it can increase complications of arthritis and contribute to joint pain.

“It’s very important to eat a healthy, balanced diet if you have arthritis. Eating healthily will give you all the nutrients you need and help you maintain a healthy weight,” adds the NHS.

You should also try to quit smoking. “Smoking causes stress on connective tissues, which can increase arthritis pain,” says the Mayo Clinic.

The Mayo Clinic says you should also avoid overtreatment, and “talk with your doctor if you find yourself using over-the-counter pain relievers regularly”.

Undertreatment is also something to try and avoid, as if you have severe and prolonged arthritis pain you might have joint inflammation or damage requiring daily medication, the site says.

Moreover, it recommends people with arthritis try and avoid “focusing only on pain,” as depression is more common in people with arthritis.

Finally, the site warns against a “negative attitude”.

“Negative thoughts are self-perpetuating. As long as you dwell on them, they escalate, which can increase your pain and risk of disability.

“Instead, distract yourself with activities you enjoy, spend time with people who support you and consider talking to a therapist,” the site says.

The NHS explains that living with arthritis can sometimes mean carrying out everyday tasks can often be painful and difficult.

Nonetheless, there are a number of factors that can ease pain, and it says you should speak with your doctor about any symptoms and pain management.

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