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Dealing with Arthritis

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/25/2007 | Health

Arthritis can occur at any age, but definitely affects older people the most.

You should immediately seek medical attention if your joint is so painful you are unable to use it. In addition, if any of your joints suddenly swell, or there is a redness or warmth in the area, call your doctor.

Dealing with arthritis can be hard, but there are some things you can do at home to help bring relief or to keep your arthritis under control.

A warm shower or bath in the morning can help relieve morning stiffness.

Apply moist heat to the area for twenty minutes or longer, two to three times a day, or as needed. Some people find that applying ice works best for them, while others alternate between hot and cold. Try all these methods and see what works best for you.

When your joints are more painful that usual, try to avoid putting weight or strain on the joints for a few days. Periods of rest during the day may help, but being inactive for long periods could cause the area to stiffen up.

Once or twice a day put your joints through a full range of motion. For example, rotate your hands slowly to loosen them up.

Exercise regularly and focus on exercises that strengthen your muscles. If your pain is severe, you should talk to your doctor and get their recommendations as to the type of exercise you can perform.

Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, may help. However, they may also cause stomach upset so take only when needed.

Don't get taken in by false medical claims. There is no miracle cures. Before taking any medications or herbal supplements for your arthritis, talk to your doctor.

Watch your weight. Excessive weight can contribute to stress on the joints.

It's true. Some forms of arthritis are more severe than others. When arthritis pain gets so severe and loss of function in the joints occurs, joint replacement surgery may become necessary. It that becomes the case, get a second opinion before having surgery. Delaying surgery for a few weeks will make little difference.

The important thing is to try to control your arthritis by working closely with your doctor. The better control you have, the less likely it is that arthritis will control your life.

Watch your diet, keep your weight under control, exercise and stretch regularly and follow any medication routine prescribed by your doctor, and you can live with arthritis.