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"How to Care for Your Arthritis"

If you have pain, swelling, stiffness and inflammation around one or more joints there is a good chance that you are suffering from arthritis. If you suspect you have arthritis, you should visit the doctor as soon as possible. The longer you delay treatment, the more serious the arthritis can become. Over time you may suffer a decreased range of motion and loss of proper function of the affected joints. You may even suffer permanent damage and deformity to the joints.

If you have already been diagnosed with arthritis what can you do? When you suffer from arthritis, some days you just don’t feel like dragging yourself out of the sack. But you know you have to. Staying in bed is the worst thing you can do when you suffer from arthritis pain. You need to get up and move around or the stiffness, swelling and inflammation will worsen.

There are many things you can do to decrease the pain and swelling. These may include taking prescribed medication, reducing weight if you are overweight, participating in a proper regimen of exercise as suggested by the doctor or physical therapist, using hot and cold treatments, and avoiding activities that overly stress the joints, to name a few. 

But there are others things you can that might help too. Do something you enjoy to take your mind off the pain such as reading a good book or listening to your favorite music. Participate in low-impact activities that require you to move your painful joints. This keeps them more flexible and loose. These activities might include gardening or playing with children at a park.

Make nutrition a priority. Proper nutrients include fruit, vegetables, vitamins, minerals, and calcium as recommended by your doctor.

Take hikes around the mall, or your favorite hiking trails. Walking helps build stronger muscles and bones. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes with a proper fit. Tight shoes make you feel worse all over.

If you smoke, quit. Smoking not only aggravates the arthritis, but if you require surgery the recovery from it can take longer. 

Share your pain and feelings with loved ones who care. They can offer needed encouragement and support.

If you have faith, pray. Spiritual activities can help make you feel better mentally and physically.