Arthritis can say to be suffering from the pain and stiffness caused by inflamed joints.
Successful management of arthritis requires a combination of different therapies. Management may include medicines, exercise, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and weight control. That’s why you may need many types of healthcare professionals. Your treatment team may include any of the following:
Your primary care doctor. Your primary care doctor, or “regular” doctor, may be a general practitioner or internist. Your doctor can help you find any specialists you may need for arthritis. If you don’t have a primary care doctor, don’t know where to find one, or don’t think you can afford one, check your insurance company’s website for further information.
A rheumatologist. Rheumatologists are doctors who focus on conditions that affect the joints, muscles, and tissues. They are not typically used to treat osteoarthritis but do treat rheumatoid arthritis.
A physical therapist. Physical therapists use various treatments, such as exercise, massage, heat, cold, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound, to prevent or reduce joint stiffness and restore muscle strength.
An occupational therapist. Occupational therapists teach you how to do certain day-to-day activities in order to lessen stress on your joints, increase your range of motion, and improve muscle strength. They may also provide special equipment to help you do daily tasks, such as buttoning a shirt or opening a bottle.
A pharmacist. A pharmacist can counsel you on good medication habits and information about possible side effects or interactions of medications.
A registered dietitian. A dietitian can help you develop healthier eating habits. Working with one can help you lose weight if you need to. Excess weight increases the pain and the damage caused from osteoarthritis and can hasten the progression of the disease.
Exercise instructor. These instructors must be specifically trained in arthritis exercise programs.
Orthopedic surgeon. An orthopedic surgeon helps preserve and restore the function of the musculoskeletal system.
Alternative medicine professionals. These professionals may include an acupuncturist, massage therapist, yoga instructor, or herbal medicine specialist.
What causes arthritis?
The causes of arthritis depend on the form of arthritis. Causes include injury (leading to osteoarthritis), metabolic abnormalities (such as gout and pseudogout), hereditary factors, the direct and indirect effect of infections (bacterial and viral), and a misdirected immune system with autoimmunity (such as in rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus).
How Is Arthritis Treated?
The main goal of treatment is to reduce the amount of pain you’re experiencing and prevent additional damage to the joints. Improving your joint function is also important. Your doctor may prescribe you a combination of treatment methods to achieve the best results.
What strategies can I use for arthritis?
When the going gets tough, use the following techniques to help make life easier.
1. Maintain an early-warning system. If your arthritis flare-ups change in frequency or severity, or if your medication does not work as well, it is time to move into action. This is the time to track your symptoms and speak with your doctor. Keeping on top of your symptoms and treatments rather than postponing your response makes it easier to stick with your treatment.
2. Think positively. Avoid negative self-talk Feeling ashamed or embarrassed or blaming yourself for your pain won’t help you manage it. A positive attitude will. Ask your doctor to recommend a therapist if you think it would help.
3. Accept where you are now, in this moment. Tell yourself that you are doing the best you can at the moment with the tools you have. Accept where you are in your treatment right now. Acknowledging where you are today can help you take positive action tomorrow.
4. Build a supportive environment. You may want to join a group of people who are working on managing their arthritis. You may want to ask the people you are close to for the exact type of support you need.
5. Learn to talk about your condition. Be able to name the skills you need to manage your arthritis most effectively. Be able to explain which situations or triggers you avoid and why. Doing so keeps you on track, focused, and in control.
6. Maintain a high level of desire. You must want to keep your arthritis under control more than you want to take part in situations that you know might trigger or aggravate your symptoms.
These are life skills for anything you want to do well. These skills help you to avoid relapsing into unhealthy behaviors and attitudes.