If you are dealing with chronic arthritis, you will face many life-altering challenges.
The following list of important actions will help you live well with arthritis and:
- accept your limitations
- cope with change
- adjust to life with chronic pain
The 8 (-ate) actions will help you deal with the challenges and maintain a positive attitude at the same time.
#1 - Educate
Knowledge Is Power
The importance of knowledge and understanding of your own health condition cannot be overstated. More sources of information exist than ever before. The Internet allows you to access vast resources about arthritis.
You can learn about:
The Internet also provides a place for mutual sharing and support. People with arthritis can both communicate with each other and learn from each other.Our About.com Arthritis forum allows you and your loved ones to:
- ask questions about arthritis
- gain insight from others who live with arthritis
- share common experiences
- draw inspiration from others with arthritis
- offer and draw encouragement
- build friendships and camaraderie with others with arthritis
Team Approach - You and Your Doctor
Initially your doctor or rheumatologist can serve as a teacher after providing a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Arthritis information and opinion about treatment options, shared between patient and doctor, lead to the best approach for managing arthritis.
- Should You Change Doctors?
- How Would You Rate Your Doctor?
- 10 Reasons To Fire Your Doctor
- The Patient-Physician Encounter
#2 - Motivate
Chronic pain is a burden and it can be very difficult at times to rise above it. When arthritis pain consumes you, it's easy to become withdrawn. It's essential that you remain motivated. Find the inspiration you need to stay focused on managing the disease.
Positive Coping Solutions
To rise above the pain:
- try to continually focus on what you can do, rather than what you can't do.
- remain active and maintain as much independence as possible.
- devise strategies and set goals that keep you moving in a positive direction.
Actually, it's a mindset. Remind yourself that you still can achieve a great deal in spite of arthritis and chronic pain. By motivating yourself to stay active, you will feel better emotionally and:
Remaining active also strengthens you physically by keeping your joints as functional as possible, countering the damage from arthritis.
#3 - Participate
Chronic joint pain steals from you, but remember, it does not steal everything. Though you are living with arthritis and chronic pain, you are still quite capable -- and those abilities that remain should become your focus.
Conserve Your Energy
Learn to pace yourself. The pain will be present whether you choose to participate or not, so it makes good sense to utilize your time and energy to do whatever you find most enjoyable and for what is most important. Engage in enjoyable social situations, participate in activities of daily living (shopping, visiting, working, traveling) -- remind yourself life can still be enjoyable -- just at a different pace.
#4 - Medicate
Role Of Medication
A major part of the treatment program for arthritis is medication. There are many drugs and medications which are utilized for treating arthritis and related conditions, and they fall into several classes and categories. Arthritis drug options include:
- NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
- COX-2 Selective Inhibitors
- DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs)
- Corticosteroids (glucocorticoids)
- Pain medications (analgesics)
- BRMs (biologic response modifiers)
- Topical medications (balms, creams, gels, lotions, ointments, etc.)
- other medications, including drugs used to treat fibromyalgia, gout, Sjogren's syndrome, and osteoporosis
Depending on your condition, it is probable that different combinations will be tried in an attempt to find the most successful for relieving pain, reducing inflammation, and allowing for the highest quality of life. It is important to take medications as prescribed, regularly and routinely.