Swelling, burning, aching, stiffness. People diagnosed with arthritis understand feelings like these too well, ranging from minor discomfort to excruciating pain. And regretfully, ongoing relief is usually difficult to obtain. For the more than 52 million Americans diagnosed with arthritis, it’s important to keep a log of where and when the problem is most severe, what activities are being impeded by the pain, and what has been attempted to relieve the pain. Sharing these details with the doctor is a great place to start to put an effective arthritis pain management plan in place.
In addition, everyday activities may be adjusted to enhance comfort for individuals suffering with the struggles of arthritis. Try these simple recommendations:
- Shift your grip: Discomfort in the hands and fingers is often worsened when lifting and carrying items with a standard grip (i.e., palm facing downward and gripping the item). As an alternative, use both hands, with palms facing up, to pick up the item. This works particularly well with handled objects like bags and handbags.
- Lighten the load: The majority of us overload the items we carry to reduce trips, like trying to carry as many grocery bags as possible, overflowing laundry baskets, and stuffing purses with an assortment of objects. Reducing the weight of objects being carried may help.
- Get clever: A plethora of adaptive gadgets are available or can be fashioned to aid those with arthritis. For example, standard foam insulation piping may be purchased in varying lengths and widths, and may be used to cover handles on everyday items such as eating utensils, hairbrushes, toothbrushes, gardening tools, and more. Wheeled carts and dollies work wonders when moving larger objects, such as taking out the trash. A little creativity can go a long way!
- Redistribute weight: Carrying items held close to the body takes the strain off the smaller joints that frequently experience the brunt of arthritis discomfort, like wrists, hands and fingers.
- Providing transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments
- Picking up prescriptions and running errands
- Preparing meals and assisting with light housework and laundry
- Helping with personal care such as bathing, dressing, and ambulation
- And much more