Have you wondered how to cope with arthritis every day? You may be wondering why I’m talking about arthritis, you may think it’s just for old people. No, it isn’t. There are over 100 types of arthritis, they each have different symptoms. Or no symptoms at all, interesting, huh? I’m going to share some of my own experiences with arthritis, I’m really a pretty private person, but I feel people need to understand arthritis. I hope you can use a few tips I have learned over the years. I will be honest with you, I refuse to take arthritis prescriptions. It’s who I am. The side effects of the drugs are not acceptable to me.
I’m not saying you should or should not use the prescriptions for your type of arthritis. This is a very personal choice. There is no cure for arthritis. You may be familiar with the term Osteoarthritis or Osteoporosis, I have a different type of arthritis.
This one has a primary and a secondary category. Primary appears without any obvious cause. Secondary develops in joints that are known to have sustained injuries over the years. Secondary also may be caused by joints affected by infections, fractures, or by another form of arthritis known as Rheumatoid arthritis. Sometimes, years of supporting the extra weight (obesity) lead to secondary osteoarthritis in our weight-bearing joints.
Most people don’t feel any pain from arthritis unless they have had joints overused or damaged. When symptoms do start they progress very slowly and may seem unimportant. Some people feel mild aching and soreness when they move. Once they get moving the pain may subside.
I guess that’s why we hear the statement “keep moving.” Some people have pain when they wake up in the morning, but once they get showered and dressed and “moving” the pain will feel less painful. Keep in mind everyone is different. I am not a doctor, nurse or anyone in the medical field. I’m sharing my research of over 30 years on arthritis.
When I was a little girl, I remember I always had back pain. Now, keep in mind I am not athletic at all. So, therefore I had zero sports injuries. I still have severe back pain to this day. This is when my Rheumatologist told me about 35 years ago something I have never forgotten it. I remember having my youngest daughter go with me to see him, and I was crying with pain. I told him I couldn’t take the pain anymore.
This wise doctor told me something that day, “Get rid of the stress in your life and do something every day for someone else because you will put the pain in the back of your mind. If you keep busy you will feel less pain.” They were going to put a morphine drip in my body that I could use to control the pain. I opted against it, at least that day. I knew I could always get it if I really needed it.
He also told me never to stay in bed because of the pain, it’s the worst thing for arthritis. Now, he did mention I needed to get plenty of rest. If you lay in bed all day I will tell you the pain gets worse, or at least it does for me.
There is no cure for arthritis. Period. There are some things we can do to help with arthritis pain, but there is no cure. I remember when I first learned I had this disease. I had a pinky finger that was red, swollen and had a yellow substance (staph infection) on the side of my finger. I was in banking at the time and I made an appointment with one of my Orthopedic doctors because I thought maybe I had broken my finger it hurt so bad.
He took one look at it and said, “You have arthritis.” I said, “What???” He then proceeded to x-ray my neck, shoulders, arms, legs, hands, back and feet. Wow, I was shocked when he showed me the damage my body had from this awful disease. He told me I probably got it when I was 5 or 6 years old.
Some types of arthritis run in families. The damage gets worse because it may become bone grinding directly on bone, ouch!
Some types of arthritis, including gout, increase with aging. Arthritis and gout have to do with your uric acid levels. The doctors will check your white blood cells and red blood cells as well as to confirm your type of arthritis. The x-rays tell it all.
Being overweight puts a strain on your bones and joints. Your spine, knees, and hips take the brunt of being overweight. If you lose weight it will make a big difference.
Previous Joint Injuries
You may have noticed the older you get if you had tennis elbow from playing tennis or other sports, you will get arthritis in that joint, and many other joints as well.
Women are more likely to get arthritis over men. We’re talking 75% more women get it compared to men.
Try and do non-impact exercise. I use a recumbent bicycle and go swimming because they are easier on my joints. Everyone is different, check with your doctor to get advice for what works for your body. Walking in comfortable shoes, you can start with short distances and increase the distance as your body can handle the new levels of exercise.
I just had laser surgery on my eyes for Glaucoma, yes inflammatory arthritis can lead to Glaucoma. I have to have this surgery once a year to relieve the pressure in my optic nerves for the rest of my life. If you don’t wear prescription glasses, please get your eyes checked at least once a year. Glaucoma does not have symptoms, you may go blind and/or lose your peripheral vision before you realize you have Glaucoma. If you do wear glasses make sure you have your eyes checked for Glaucoma each time you go in for an eye test.
Redness, swelling, warmth, nodules, muscle aches, fever, pain, and fatigue, to name just a few.
Foods that aggravate this disease are sugar, fried foods, dairy, alcohol, tobacco, and processed foods. Cut out soda and flour baked goods. Eat more vegetables and fruits. I’m sure there are more foods your doctor will tell you to eliminate from your diet.
Please share your tips we can use with this terrible disease. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I use essential oils, aspirin, and Ibruprofen, they all really help me cope with things every day.
Knee picture: AdobeStock_118348863 by vishalgokulwale
Arthritis sign: AdobeStock_103495896 by greenapple78
Gout: AdobeStock_76033559 by ThamKC