National Arthritis Week: Living well with arthritis

Posted on: 6/10/2023

To mark National Arthritis Week, here is some information and useful tips to help you if you suffer from the condition.

What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint. In the UK, more than 10 million people have arthritis or similar conditions that affect the joints. Arthritis affects people of all ages, including children.

There are over 200 types of rheumatic diseases, but the two most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Living with arthritis
It isn’t easy living with arthritis. Simple every-day tasks can become increasingly difficult to perform.

If your hands and wrists are affected, tasks such as writing or opening jars can be challenging. Whereas if you suffer from arthritis in your knees, it may become more difficult to walk or to get up out of a chair.

How can I improve symptoms of arthritis?
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for arthritis. There are however factors that can help improve your condition.

Useful tips to consider are:

1. Ensure you have good posture
Having poor posture has negative effects on our body’s joints, muscles, and circulation, which can heighten arthritis pain.

The NHS recommends that good posture is:

  • Keeping your shoulders back and relaxed
  • Pulling in your abdomen
  • Keeping your feet about hip distance apart
  • Balancing your weight evenly on both feet
  • Trying not to tilt your head forward, backwards or sideways
  • Keeping your legs straight, but knees relaxed

2. Keep your joints moving
Do daily, gentle stretches that move your joints through their full range of motion.

3. Manage your weight
Being overweight or obese can increase complications of arthritis and contribute to arthritis pain. Carrying extra weight puts more pressure on your joints, especially your knees, hips, and feet.

Making lifestyle changes resulting in gradual weight loss is the most effective method of weight management.

4. Quit smoking
Smoking causes stress on connective tissues, which can increase arthritis pain. Additionally, scientific studies found that smoking lowered rates of response to arthritis medication in comparison to that of non-smokers.

5. Exercise
When you have arthritis, movement can decrease your pain and stiffness, improve your range of motion, strengthen your muscles, and increase your endurance. Good options include low-impact exercises, such as walking, cycling and swimming.

At Progress Lifeline we provide telecare solutions which benefit people living with chronic and long-term conditions. To find out more about these services, click here.