A physiotherapist can help you to understand what happens to your joints and muscles when you have arthritis. Understanding your arthritis will help you to manage its effects.
Managing your pain
Arthritis can cause pain in one particular part of the body or more widespread joint and muscle pain. Medications will help but a physiotherapist can tell you about other methods of pain relief that work
Physiotherapy is an important part of treatment for most people with arthritis. It’s run by physiotherapists, who are part of a team of healthcare professionals who help you to resume or maintain an active and independent life both at home and work. They’re experts in assessing movement and can show you how to protect your joints. Your physiotherapist will:
- offer advice and reassurance
- help you to feel confident about managing your condition
- address any concerns or uncertainties
- Set appropriate goals to keep you as active as possible.
- Specialist physiotherapists are trained in diagnosing and treating joint and muscle problems.
Adjusting to life with arthritis can be difficult mentally as well as physically, but there are a number of services, events and activities which can help make this transition as simple as possible.
Having arthritis and the pain that goes with it can sometimes lead to a life built around pain and immobility.
A way to reduce your pain is to change gear by emphasising things like optimism, humour, eating a balanced diet, daily exercise and enjoying a good social life. It can also include relaxation techniques, taking medication and keeping pain in perspective.
Here are some examples of some simple, everyday things that will help to:
Use joints well and conserve your energy – Using your joints well involves doing everyday tasks in ways that reduce the stress on them. Saving energy involves listening to your body for signals that it needs to rest, and pacing yourself to avoid exhaustion. Here are five basic guidelines for using your joints well and saving energy.
1. Become aware of your body positions –
Avoid being in one position for a long time and avoid postures that make you stiffer. Avoid activities that involve a tight grip or put too much pressure on your fingers. Use equipment that reduces stress on joints and makes difficult tasks easier.
2. Control your weight as well as you can –
If you weigh more than is healthy, this puts extra stress on weight-bearing joints and can, in some cases, lead to further joint pain and damage.
3. Use your largest and strongest joints and muscles for daily tasks wherever possible
For example, use a bag with a shoulder strap across your back rather than holding a case or bag when carrying heavy loads. Spread the weight of an object over many joints to reduce the stress placed on any one joint.
4. Try to balance rest with activity –
Take breaks as and when you need them, but be aware that too much rest causes muscle stiffness.
5. Simplify your work –
Plan ahead, organise and create short cuts. At work, make good use of lunch and tea-breaks to change your position, to move around and to relax.