7 Tips for Arthritis Sufferers – Harvard

Harvard Health Publications has released a brief write-up with helpful hints for arthritis sufferers.

It is estimated that one out of every five people living in the United States has at least one joint with signs or symptoms of arthritis. Contrary to popular belief about half of arthritis sufferers are under age 50. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. It typically occurs from either disease or trauma. The exact number of people with arthritis in the hand and wrist is not known, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

As a sufferer with bone-on-bone arthritis in both hands, I welcome the tips from Harvard:

I wore this acrylic immobilizer on my hand for three years to support my hand with arthritis.

1. Keep moving. Avoid holding one position for too long. When working at a desk, for example, get up and stretch every 15 minutes. Do the same while sitting at home reading or watching television.
2. Avoid stress. Avoid positions or movements that put extra stress on joints. For example, opening a tight lid can be difficult if you have hand arthritis. One solution is to set the jar on a cloth, lean on the jar with your palm, and turn the lid using a shoulder motion. Better yet, purchase a wall-mounted jar opener that grips the lid, leaving both hands free to turn the jar.
3. Discover your strength. Use your strongest joints and muscles. To protect finger and wrist joints, push open heavy doors with the side of the arm or shoulder. To reduce hip or knee stress on stairs, lead with the stronger leg going up and the weaker leg going down.
4. Plan ahead. Simplify life as much as possible. Eliminate unnecessary activities (for example, buy clothing that doesn’t need ironing). Organize work and storage areas; store frequently used items within easy reach. Keep duplicate household items in several places; for example, stock the kitchen and all bathrooms with cleaning supplies.
5. Use labor-saving items and adaptive aids. In the kitchen, use electric can openers and mixers. In the bathroom, cut down on scrubbing by using automatic toilet bowl cleaners and, in showers or tubs, spray-on mildew remover. Other devices on the market can help you avoid unnecessary bending, stooping, or reaching.
6. Make home modifications. Using casters on furniture can make housecleaning easier. A grab bar mounted over the tub is a necessity for many people, as is a suction mat in the tub to prevent falls. Putting a bathing stool in the tub or shower is a good idea for people who have arthritis in the legs.
7. Ask for help. Maintaining independence is essential to self-esteem, but independence at all costs is a recipe for disaster. Achieve a balance by educating family members and friends about the disease and the limitations it imposes and enlisting their support. Ask for help with specific tasks.

I wrote up my experience with arthritis and the relief I got from trace minerals about a year ago. You can read it here.

Tony

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