Long-term studies show that people with various forms of arthritis who are actively working on the treatment of pathology and lifestyle changes are less likely to complain of pain and are less likely to visit doctors. Due to the selection of adequate physical activity and proper relaxation, unloading of joints, they generally have a higher quality of life. Working with a psychologist, fighting depression and normalizing sleep, regular visits to the doctor allow people with arthritis to minimize their symptoms, participate in treatment, and prevent complications.
The role of physical activity
Regular physical activity, properly selected exercises can strengthen the muscles around the affected joints and reduce bone loss. This helps control the development of swelling and joint pain. Finally, dosed physical activity contributes to weight loss, which reduces most of the symptoms of arthritis. Four types of exercises are especially useful for patients with osteoarthritis: aerobic exercises with a low level of impact on the joints, increasing range of motion, strengthening muscles, and water exercises.
Aerobic exercise such as jogging improves overall fitness and stamina, reduces risk factors for heart disease, and enhances weight loss. However, actions with high joint loading can accelerate the breakdown of cartilage in patients with knee or hip arthritis. Instead, low-impact exercise is recommended. These include an exercise bike, an elliptical trainer in a health club, swimming or walking.
What is useful for arthritis: exercise options
Exercises that increase the range of motion include the joint, as far as possible, without causing pain. The goal is to improve flexibility, which is the key to normalizing function in arthritis, and to reduce pain and stiffness.
Arthritis can be alleviated by strengthening the muscles surrounding the affected joint, thereby reducing the burden on them. Individually selected isometric exercises train muscles without deforming the joints, as the latter remain motionless during training.
Water exercises are recommended for patients diagnosed with arthritis: this is an aerobic exercise that strengthens the muscles and widens the range of motion, while using water to support the body, reduce stress on the joints and increase comfort. Walking, running, swimming in the pool are aerobic exercises in the water. Useful lifts on the steps of the pool, stretching legs, sitting on the side. A physiotherapist can help patients with arthritis find an individual exercise program.
Joint relaxation after overwork
When the load on the affected joints is too strong, whether it is exercise, doing housework or working, pain may occur. It is important to give the body time to rest and recover. If there is pain in the joints, which persists for two hours of good rest, it is worth considering it a warning sign that the load is too high. It is necessary to give joints longer rest and apply treatment methods, such as exposure to heat and cold, and use painkillers recommended by a doctor.
Do not give up exercises or habitual activities at all, as inaction will only make it worse. It is important to reduce stress and caution when performing. If this does not help, the physiotherapist will be able to advise exercises that cause less pain, recommend a regimen of home activity, alternating rest and work.
Chronic pain and depression often go hand in hand. Manifestations of depression can complicate work and household chores, disrupt family relationships and deprive the patient of any joy in life.
However, depression is not an inevitable companion for arthritis. Patients may seek help if they learn to detect signs of depression:
- A bad mood that lasts two weeks or more
- Relationship tensions
- Lack of interest in work
- Insomnia or persistent drowsiness
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Crying or frequent depression, sadness
- Sense of worthlessness
- Persistent headaches or digestive disorders.
Patients who believe they are depressed should first consult their rheumatologist, who can assess whether any drugs can cause such side effects. They should then contact a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychotherapist, who can offer one or more treatments, including cognitive or behavioral therapy or antidepressants.
Patients can also help themselves avoid depression by communicating with family and friends by joining a support group. These efforts often help to remove the patient from a serious condition.
Normalization of sleep, good habits
There are several ways to improve the quality of night sleep, which is often difficult to achieve when joints cause discomfort and pain. A full sleep gives rest to the joints, reduces the likelihood of stress and pain during the day. You need to choose a good mattress, as well as quality bedding, to help make the dream a pleasant and comfortable one. It is worthwhile to develop regular and relaxing sleepy rituals, such as reading or drinking milk, herbal tea before bedtime.
It is necessary to remove all working documents and other objects that may irritate or excite from the bedroom. It is important to give up caffeine, alcohol and heavy, heavy meals before bedtime in the evening.
Equally important is the constant monitoring of the doctor, regular visits to the specialist to adjust the treatment received and evaluate the condition of the joints. A positive attitude and lifestyle changes in accordance with the limitations that impose joint problems allow you to remain socially active for a very long time.