Arthritis is a debilitating disease that affects people of all ages. Children can be born with arthritis and it is very common to affect us as we age. According to the Arthritis Foundation® there are more than 100 different types of arthritis. The most commonly known types of arthritis are Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Juvenile Arthritis, Gout, Psoriatic Arthritis, Bursitis, Tendonitis, and Fibromyalgia. While each of these types of arthritis affect the body differently, with different symptoms and results they all have one thing in common – pain and discomfort in your joints.
Many times those who suffer from any form of arthritis and chronic pain that is related to the arthritis will fall into a state of depression from living a life of chronic pain. Go Physical Therapy & Wellness specializes in pain management techniques that can help you deal with the ongoing pain of this disease.
While moving can often seem impossible for someone who is suffering from arthritis, it truly is important to keep the body moving in order to keep it from stiffening up worse. As hard as it may seem to be or as agonizing as it may sound, exercising and diet are two ways to control and deal with arthritic pain. Exercise can also help to alleviate depression by releasing endorphins that help boost your thought processes and actually make you feel better in both mind and body. Basically, exercise works as a one two punch for those with arthritis by not only helping to reduce pain levels but also increase endorphin levels, which can help with depression. The best part of exercising is that any amount can be beneficial; so you don’t have to necessarily take on an overly exertive and rambunctious regimen to feel the benefits of the exercise itself.
Working one on one in your NY home with one of our certified physical therapists, we can develop a plan of action for you if you are suffering from arthritic pain. By assessing your abilities, your pain levels, and what causes your pain most we will work to alleviate the pain from its root. Having a plan designed specifically around your arthritic pains, your abilities and your body weaknesses can help you achieve a better quality of life. As you move more, your body will begin to feel better. Working specifically with a physical therapist that is trained to understand and notice the results, deficits and changes as they happen will help to ensure that your specific arthritic pain is addressed.
Taking Action Against Arthritis Pain
Here are a few tips to help you with your approach in dealing with arthritis:
- Eat a Healthy Diet – Weight can have a huge impact on your pain levels and if you are overweight, simply losing as little as 10 lbs. can affect the way your body feels and the amount of impact it takes. Eating healthy can also help to boost your immune system with the proper fruits & vegetables and the minerals & vitamins they provide. Eating healthier always makes you feel better overall.
- Exercise Regularly – There’s no reason to think you have to go to a gym and do a hardcore workout every day. When we’re talking exercise, especially for those with arthritis and (in particular) seniors with arthritis, we are talking about an exercise and movement process that keeps the body in action. As the old saying goes “A body in motion tends to stay in motion” so if you are sitting around or lying around all day you will only cause yourself more pain and harm. Let us design a simple, effective program that you can continue regularly in order to have more control of your pain. As trained physical therapists we understand that those with arthritis can’t exercise like someone who doesn’t suffer from arthritic pain and we will design a program that is not only effective but specific to your needs and abilities.
- Know Your Pain to Avoid It – While it’s never possible to know for sure what days will be good ones and what days will be bad; it is possible to understand certain conditions that seem to affect your body and increase your pain levels. Have a plan of action ready for your “bad days,” which can include working with your rheumatologist and your physical therapist. If you have pain in the mornings, perhaps you can take an anti-inflammatory before bed or if you experience pain after shopping and walking a lot, plan for resting and perhaps even using a motorized vehicle for outings that require a lot of walking.
- Simplify Your Daily Life Activities – If you’re still trying to “do it all” yourself it may be time to take a look at where you can step back and accept help from others or even hire help. For example, housework can often have you bending, stooping, and stretching. These repetitive actions can often cause pain for those with arthritis; so you can modify how you perform them (purchase dusters that have extension rods in them so you don’t have to stretch or bend) or accept help from others. Place all of your “tools” for cleaning in one basket so you don’t have to run around and gather items at different times; reducing the amount of walking & even stair climbing that you will have to do in order to clean.
- Shoes – When you get home or in a comfortable place where you can safely remove your shoes, kick them off and enjoy the feeling of going barefoot. Wearing shoes can actually increase the amount of force on your knees according to Dr. Kerrigan, MD. However Dr. Kerrigan warns barefoot truly means without socks, which can cause slipping and falling. I personally like anti-slip socks if you are uncomfortable in bare feet but please make sure the anti-skid remains in tact on the bottom of the socks so that you are not prone to slipping. GO PT also offers a Fall Prevention Program if you feel unsteady or unstable on your feet.Just as important, make sure that the shoes you wear regularly are comfortable and fit well. Wearing stylish but uncomfortable shoes can antagonize the joints in your feet, ankles, knees, and hips. Choose shoes for their comfort to decrease the amount of strain and awkward stepping that a high heel or heavy boot can cause.
- Supplements – Ask your physician or rheumatologist about various supplements and natural products that can help reduce inflammation. Turmeric, Glucosamine, ginger, and other all natural supplements can be extremely helpful in keeping inflammation down and pain levels under control.
Remember that GO Physical Therapy and Wellness specializes in working with seniors at home. We come to you so that you can concentrate on exerting your energies to exercise and focus on your arthritic pain instead of tiring yourself out getting to us! We will work with you to help decrease and control your chronic pain. We can focus on any problems that arthritis may be causing you and help you prepare a plan of action on how to handle every life functions more easily. Call us today for an in home assessment if you are battling arthritis and the pain of arthritis.
Dedicated To Your Health & Well-being (and safety),
 Arthritis Foundation® – Brochure “Diseases & Conditions”
 Professor and chair of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Virginia – “Good and Bad Health Habits” – Dorothy Foltz-Gray