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Learning to Live with Arthritis

Aug 17, 2007
In the United States alone, more than 40 million people suffer from arthritis discomfort. Although many view this condition as a natural part of the aging process, there is no reason why it has to be debilitating. In fact, many doctors help their patients learn to manage arthritis symptoms like pain and stiffness by utilizing a variety of techniques. The first step is to see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Bone pain can be a symptom of other medical problems, so it is important to find out if arthritis is the true cause. If so, you can then begin the quest for proper treatment.

Depending on the degree to which you have arthritis and its impact on your lifestyle, you may need to take anti-inflammatory medications that your doctor will prescribe. Always follow the directions carefully and take the medication only as directed. Let your doctor know if you experience side effects or allergic reactions, which might include hives, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing. Over-the-counter medications likewise may be prescribed so you can take them as needed for sporadic discomfort if the pain has not become chronic or severe.

If you are only beginning to develop arthritis, or if it presents only mild discomfort, you can try other things to help make it more bearable, as well. For example, regular physical exercise is a great way to build bone mass and to promote bodily circulation, both of which can help to control arthritic symptoms. Ask your doctor to recommend the best type of exercise for your condition. People with joint swelling or pain might need to avoid weight-bearing exercise like walking and instead go swimming at the local pool, which helps their bodies to float and thus relieves pressure from the joints and bones.

In addition to medication and exercise as ways of controlling your arthritis pain, you may want to consider herbal remedies, like glucosamine, among others. Some studies suggest that those using certain herbal formulas that are based on glucosamine and related substances may experience less joint pain and swelling. Ask your doctor if this is a good idea for you. There are other herbs that might reduce inflammation and ease joint pain, but check with a medical expert or an herbalist before taking any of these.

People who suffer from chronic conditions like arthritis often benefit from environmental therapies as well. Listening to soothing music or relaxing scents like potpourri can help to relieve stress and reduce discomfort associated with joint pain. Keeping a journal and writing about negative aspects of having arthritis for 15 to 20 minutes at least three days a week has been shown to improve immune function and decrease stress levels. Joining a support group or visiting with friends and family several times a month likewise provides comfort to ease difficult physical symptoms.

Don't let arthritis keep you down. Take control of your life and your symptoms by trying strategies like these to build a better future.
About the Author
Want to know more about managing arthritis discomfort? For helpful information, visit The Arthritis Directory at http://www.arthritisdir.com
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