Living with Arthritis

by Emily McBride
(last updated October 20, 2009)

Pain, stiffness, and swelling are all signs of the dreaded disease arthritis. Many people suffer from arthritis, especially as they grow older, and there is not really a total cure for the problem as of right now. Arthritis is when the tissue lining your joints becomes inflamed, which often makes it painful to even move. The pain is usually felt in the joints, where two bones meet together, such as your elbow, your knee, your hips, or the knuckles of your fingers. The two main kinds of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is more common, and the kind of arthritis that usually comes with age. It is common for an injury in earlier years (such as a broken knee playing high school football) to develop arthritis later in life. Rheumatoid arthritis is felt in more parts of the body because it is when the body's defense system isn't working right. Even though arthritis will be painful, follow some of these steps so that you can continue living your life.

  • Go to do the doctor. Even though arthritis does not have a complete cure, it is still helpful to go to the doctor about it. If your primary care doctor does not know enough about arthritis, he or she can refer you to a rheumatologist. Rheumatologists are trained in the different types of arthritis and how to deal with the pain. There are many prescription medicines available that could help you live a more fulfilling life. If the doctor does diagnose a medicine, make sure you know exactly how you should take it (with a meal, at night, etc.) for best effectiveness.
  • Stay or get in shape. Being active and at a healthy weight can decrease the potential discomfort of arthritis. Try to exercise more (even if it's as simple as walking instead of driving), and eat well-balanced meals. You want to give your body as much possible help as you can. Also, extra weight can make arthritic knees and hips more painful, and exercise can help loosen sore and stiff joints. However, try not to put too much stress on the joints that are hurting.
  • Temporary relief. If you are in a lot of pain, try taking a hot shower to help relax your joints. Also, try putting an icepack on your joints to help the inflammation and bring the swelling down.

If you are feeling the symptoms of arthritis, make sure that you have seen a doctor. Some arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis, continually gets worse, and you can stop how fast it progresses with a doctor's help. Above all, try to keep a positive attitude and don't just stay in bed—enjoy your life!

Author Bio

Emily McBride

A senior majoring in English and editing at BYU, Emily hopes to enter the field of professional editing upon graduation. Emily has done humanitarian work in Africa and studied in London. She enjoys blogging, foreign films, and playing the piano. ...

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