Arthritis is a common problem. It’s actually the leading cause of pain and disability worldwide. Despite the impact joint inflammation can have on your body, there are simple strategies you can take to relieve your symptoms and restore your quality of life.
Dr. Jared Tadje is a talented orthopedic surgeon in Meridian, Idaho. At Tadje Orthopaedics, Dr. Tadje offers numerous arthritis treatments, ranging from regenerative therapies like PRP and stem cell injections to arthroscopic surgery and joint replacement. However, when it comes to managing arthritis pain, there are simple things you can do on a day-to-day basis as well.
If you live with arthritis pain, Dr. Tadje recommends taking these additional steps.
1. Stay active
It’s hard to consider doing anything physical when you have arthritis pain. However, staying active is essential for managing this condition. That’s because the right activities can strengthen the muscles supporting your joints and enhance your range of motion, which decreases pain and stiffness. Plus, regular exercise keeps your heart healthy and helps you avoid other issues, like heart disease and obesity.
If you have arthritis, Dr. Tadje suggests focusing on exercises like gentle stretching, strength training, and low impact aerobic exercises, like walking or swimming. And, don’t push yourself if you experience pain or you're new to an exercise program.
2. Watch your weight
In America alone, 72% of adults are overweight or obese, putting them at risk of numerous health problems, including arthritis. In fact, 23% of overweight and 31% of obese patients also have an arthritis diagnosis. These two conditions are intimately linked because carrying excess weight puts added stress on your joints, especially weight-bearing sites like your knees and hips.
Fortunately, losing a single pound removes four pounds of pressure from your knees. The result? You can significantly improve your arthritis symptoms by losing as little as 10-12 pounds.
3. Protect your joints
While it’s critical to stay active when you have arthritis, it’s also vital to protect your joints from further injury. That means paying attention to your posture and avoiding high impact or repetitive activities that can put added strain on your joints, such as:
- High-impact aerobics
- Repetitive movements, like tennis serves, knee bending
You should also avoid staying in the same position for too long, including sitting at a desk or watching television. Instead, stand up and stretch every 15 minutes.
4. Quit smoking
We know you've heard it before, but it's time to quit smoking. You probably already know that this dangerous habit puts you at risk of heart disease, lung disease, and cancer. But did you know it significantly increases your chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis, and it can worsen arthritis symptoms?
Studies also show that current smokers have more severe pain than nonsmokers, and they're more than twice as likely to experience extreme cartilage loss. Plus, smoking can also make some arthritis treatments less effective.
5. Talk to your doctor
Everyone turns to over-the-counter drugs when they have an ache or pain. However, if you find yourself using these treatments regularly, you should speak with your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis of your condition.
During a thorough evaluation, Dr. Tadje can help determine the cause of your joint pain — there are more than 100 types of arthritis — and your level of joint damage. Based on your diagnosis, Dr. Tadje can create a safe and effective treatment strategy to help manage your condition, minimize additional joint damage, and improve your quality of life.
Medical treatments for arthritis include:
- Oral and topical medications for pain and inflammation
- Physical therapy to strengthen muscles and improve range of motion
- Regenerative therapies to repair tissue damage on a cellular level
If you have arthritis pain that doesn’t respond to conservative treatments, Dr. Tadje could recommend surgery to remove damage, repair tissue, add stability, or replace the joint.
For more ways to relieve your arthritis pain, contact Tadje Orthopaedics to schedule an appointment by calling 208-231-7851 or booking online today.