Part 3 of our blog series looks at those factors you may not have considered when thinking about how to live with and prevent arthritis. How you take care of yourself, your attitude and your outlook play an important part in how you feel. While having a positive outlook and adopting a healthy lifestyle may not cure your pain, it may help you live more comfortably and actively.
What you can do
Pain can cause stress. Stress can cause muscle tension. Muscle tension can cause pain. Stress can be a vicious cycle that contributes to arthritis pain and dysfunction. Learning and practicing relaxation techniques can lead to less pain and a better outlook on your arthritis.
You can learn to enjoy a relaxing walk or swim. A yoga class can improve strength and flexibility and be relaxing. Be charitable – giving your time to others can be a great stress reliever. If you are spiritual, meditation, prayer and spending time with others who share your views can be healing.
What you should do
Speak with your health care provider. Write a list of what hurts and when it hurts so you can have a frank and clear discussion to create a treatment plan. If your health care provider prescribes an anti-inflammatory drug, take it as directed. You need to have a therapeutic dose of medicine in order for it to be effective.
Don’t ignore the pain assuming it will go away. It may, but it also may come back. As with almost everything related to your health, taking care of problems early and learning how to manage the condition is the most important thing you CAN do when dealing with osteoarthritis.
What you can and should do
The best thing to do is to never start smoking. The second best thing is to quit smoking. Though the links are not firmly established, a study at Mayo Clinic on men with knee OA showed that smokers were likely to have more cartilage loss than non-smokers and were likely to experience more pain than non-smokers.
Smoking reduces oxygen and blood flow to the tissues, reducing the ability of damaged tissues to heal. In addition, smoking may affect the cells that help maintain cartilage production. These are just two of the many good reasons to give up smoking.Like what you’ve read? Click here to subscribe to the blog!