12 October is World Arthritis Day.
The annual campaign aims to increase awareness around arthritis and offer support to those living with this challenging condition.
From useful lifestyle changes to simple tricks to make everyday jobs easier, here are some practical tips for living with arthritis. Share yours in the comments below
Consistently getting a good night’s sleep can go a long way, as studies have shown lack of sleep can worsen symptoms. Good sleep not only helps your body repair itself, but can also support your mental wellbeing when you’re dealing with pain regularly. Chronic arthritis sufferers will know this is sometimes easier said than done – but by helping to create the right conditions for sleep you can increase your chances of getting good rest. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day – keeping this routine is essential. Keep technology like televisions, tablets and smartphones out of your bedroom. Many people find nightly rituals like a warm bath, reading before bed, meditating or listening to music can help them wind down and drift off to sleep easier. Experiment and find a routine that works for you over time and if you’re struggling make an appointment to discuss it with your GP.
When you’re struggling with joint pain, exercise may feel like the last thing you want to do, but it truly can help. It will not only help you keep your joint mobility up, but can help you sleep better and improve your mood. Try and do a combination of aerobic, strengthening and stretching exercises. Swimming and aquafit, gentle yoga, tai chi and walking are all good options.
Stretch in the bath
Warm water is ideal for helping your muscles to relax and to get some pain relief. Epsom salts can be extremely beneficial and are inexpensive and readily available from most chemists. Set the temperature to warm but not too hot, and when you’re in the bath take the opportunity to stretch and move your joints.
Use rubber bands and scissors
Rubber bands placed around jar lids can help make gripping easier if you have arthritis in your hands or wrists. Carrying a small pair of scissors with you when you go out also makes it easier to open packages instead of using your teeth.
Make a heat pack
You can make your own heat pack by filling a large sock with rice and knotting it closed. Put this in the microwave to heat up – you can use it to help ease tension wherever you feel it.
Choose pre-cut ingredients
Most supermarkets now offer dozens of pre-prepared ingredients including chopped garlic, chopped onions, and pre-cut parchment paper to make everyday tasks like cooking dinner less troublesome.
Look for tools
For arthritis sufferers, one aspect of the condition that can be particularly upsetting is the loss of independence when it comes to everyday tasks. Think about your routine and look for places you can make life simpler for yourself by making one or two simple changes or getting some tools to help you. For example, a small trolley on wheels can make moving things around the home easier. Switching to a smaller, one-pot kettle or using a pod coffee machine can also help ease the burden of small at-home tasks like making a cup of tea.