Arthritis Do’s and Don’ts

During Arthritis Awareness Month, learn more about how to navigate life with this common condition. More than 20% of adults in America live with arthritis pain. As an older adult, there are things you can do to manage arthritis so that it doesn’t dominate your life. Here are the do’s and don’ts of dealing with arthritis.

Diet and Exercise

What you eat and how you move are central to successful arthritis management. Simple changes to your diet and exercise routine can significantly improve your quality of life.

The Do’s

  • Do maintain a healthy weight
  • Do consume omega-3s
  • Do develop a stable exercise routine
  • Do swim, walk, and lift weights
  • Do stretch daily

The Don’ts

  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t drink alcohol in excess
  • Don’t overindulge in sweet or fried foods
  • Don’t perform high-impact exercise

Although it can be challenging to get up and get moving when you have arthritis, gentle exercise is one of the best ways to reduce your pain in the long term.

Arthritis Do's and Don'ts. Young hands hold aged hands.

Taking Medication

If you’ve spoken with your doctor about arthritis, you know that medication can help control flare-ups and allow you to accomplish everyday tasks such as mowing the lawn or clearing out the garden. These tips can help you use medication effectively.

The Do’s

  • Do come up with a medication plan with your doctor
  • Do use over-the-counter pain relievers to manage occasional pain
  • Do explore topical treatments such as capsaicin and other pain-relief balms
  • Do ask your doctor about acupuncture and other holistic treatments

The Don’ts

  • Don’t ignore long-lasting or severe pain
  • Don’t overuse OTC pain relievers
  • Don’t avoid surgery if your doctor thinks it’s necessary

Arthritis pain can be unpredictable, so keep track of your symptoms and what triggers your flare-ups. Changes in the weather or an increase in certain activities may cause a sudden change in your pain levels, and that’s when it’s appropriate to take OTC pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium.

Lifestyle Changes

As with other chronic conditions, you can make lifestyle changes that improve your quality of life while living with arthritis. It’s important to do what feels best for your body and avoid overexerting yourself at work, at home, and during exercise.

The Do’s

  • Do clear away clutter in your home to prevent falls and injuries
  • Do make ergonomic changes to your work environment
  • Do talk to a professional if you are experiencing depression
  • Do find ways to relax, including meditating, journaling, and being in nature
  • Do apply heat and cold therapy to manage arthritis pain

The Don’ts

  • Don’t push yourself beyond your limits
  • Don’t focus on the negatives
  • Don’t let pain control your life

Changing your habits isn’t easy, but you will start to feel better if you take steps to manage arthritis in your everyday life.

Improve Your Quality of Life

If you have a chronic health condition that impacts your ability to perform daily tasks or affects your mobility, you may want to consider transitioning to assisted living. Schedule a visit to one of our facilities to discover how our mission to provide dignified and human-centered care can improve your quality of life.

For help or more information contact us or schedule a visit at a location today.