Making A Plan For The New Year To Help Control Your Arthritis Symptoms. I

The New Year is upon us and now is a good time to re-evaluate how well you are dealing with your arthritis. Has your condition worsened over the last 12 months, or are things better? Have you gained some control back over your life?

How effective is your medical therapy in controlling symptoms? Have you been able to reduce your weight if that was a concern? How are your sleeping and eating habits? What is your activity level like compared to a year ago? What is your social life like today? What are your expectations for the coming year concerning your arthritis?

Arthritis, like many of the other chronic conditions people get, can drastically affect your life. Since most forms of arthritis are progressive, each person must establish management plans to help control symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. When our lives are full and busy, it is sometimes hard to establish a plan and even harder to stick to it once established. But like most things in life whether it is a job, a task around the house or simply a chore that needs to be done, we need to do some planning to include these activities into our day or the jobs won’t get done. The same concept applies with managing a chronic disease. Without a plan the job rarely gets done and your health and welfare will suffer.

So, how does one go about establishing a plan to manage arthritis? The first thing to do is sit down and assesses your present condition. Write down the answers to some of the questions above to help you decide where you need to do some work. In some areas, you may just need to make some minor adjustments, but in other areas you may need to do more work. This is the reason you write these things down, so later on you can review you’re “to do” list and see how much you have accomplished.

Now lets take a look at some key areas that should be included in your management plan and how you can improve upon them.

Evaluate your present condition. Has the arthritis progressed into other joints? If you have an inflammatory form of arthritis it is not uncommon for the disease to continue to progress into more joints as time goes on. If you are having symptoms in additional joints, this may be an indication that your medical therapy may need some adjustment. It also may indicate you are over stressing the unaffected joints to relieve the discomfort of the affected joints. Since most inflammatory forms of arthritis do progress you will most likely not be able to avoid this completely, but hopefully you would have some impact on slowing the progression. If you have been taking the same medicines for several years to relieve the symptoms of your arthritis, you might want to make a visit back to your doctor for a new evaluation. In the past couple of years several new medications have become available to help control the symptoms and the progression of some forms of inflammatory arthritis.

Using your joints wisely can also reduce the chance of overstressing the unaffected joints. Try to maintain good posture throughout the day. Use correct form for bending and lifting. Maintain a neutral joint position when doing tasks that require holding positions for long periods of time. Try to change body positions often to avoid becoming stiff or developing spasms in surrounding muscles.

to be continued…

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