A diagnosis of arthritis is not the end of your life, but it will change your life in some significant ways. Depending on the severity of your case and the type of arthritis you have, you’ll likely be dealing with significant pain, joint stiffness, and swelling.
Seeing one of the primary care doctors at Physicians Medical Primary Care in San Jose, California, will give you more clarity about which kind of arthritis you have and the kinds of treatments that can help.
The general term arthritis actually refers to a group of diseases that cause swelling and inflammation in your joints. While there are more than 100 different types, two, in particular, are most common: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in your joints deteriorates, allowing your bones to rub together, and rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition in which your own immune system attacks the linings of your joints.
A diagnosis of either kind of arthritis does not mean that you should just lay in bed or sit on the couch all day. You can still live a full, meaningful life — you just need to make a few adjustments to accommodate your condition.
Our expert team has been treating arthritis for years as we help patients come to grips with the reality of their diagnosis. Here are a few of our best tips on how to adjust to life with arthritis.
Learn all you can
The more you know, the better you can fight this disease and optimize your life, so dive in. Read everything you can find about arthritis, and search out good sources of news and information online, including support groups. Ask lots of questions, and don’t be satisfied until you get answers. This is your life, so don’t be afraid to take control — after all, knowledge is power.
Partner with your doctor
Your doctor can be your best ally in the fight against arthritis. Make sure they explain your condition fully and give you plenty of time to discuss treatment options and answer all your questions. You’ll find the best success when you and your doctor make informed decisions together, not when you strike out on your own.
Though you might initially think arthritis means you won’t move as much, exercise is a vital part of keeping your joints healthy. Moving your joints daily preserves your range of motion, and strengthening your muscles will help support your joints as well.
Staying active is also an important part of losing weight, which is one of the most effective steps you can take to decrease joint pain. Even losing a small amount of weight can provide much relief for your joints, so keep moving.
Plan for less stress
Listen to your body. When it tells you that it’s hurting, that’s a sign that whatever you were doing was placing too much stress on your body. Change the position you sit in at work, or place a pillow behind your lower back to relieve the strain. Stand up, stretch, and move often, and take breaks.
At home, divide up your household chores so they’re not so hard on your body. Clean the floors one day and do laundry another day, for example. Get lightweight brooms and vacuums, and keep a set of cleaning supplies in various areas of the house.
If you are looking for help as you navigate your arthritis journey, the doctors at Physicians Medical Primary Care would be honored to help guide you. Just call either of our San Jose offices, or use our convenient online scheduler to set up an appointment.
You may be nervous about your life with arthritis, but we’re here to help.