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Managing Your Arthritis

Arthritis can be a painful and limiting condition, making simple activities like walking or climbing stairs uncomfortable or even impossible.

You don't have to suffer. In fact, there are a number of proactive things you can do  to help control your symptoms and manage the disease for the long-term.

Following these self-care tips can help make living with arthritis easier:

  1. See your physician for an accurate diagnosis. There are many kinds of arthritis, so it's important to ensure you know which kind you're dealing with so you can get the most effective treatment.
  2. Check your medications. If you have been arthritis medications for a number of years, ask your doctor about any newer drugs that have become available. They may be cheaper, have fewer side effects or provide more relief than your current medicines.
  3. Lose weight. Research has shown that losing 11 pounds can lower your risk for knee osteoarthritis by 50 percent.
  4. Talk to your doctor about your diet. Your doctor can reveal any connections between the kind of food you eat and the type of arthritis you have.
  5. Use heat to manage stiffness. If your arthritis is making your joints stiff and sore, apply heat using warm towels, a warm bath or hot packs. Heat therapy should be done 15 to 20 minutes, three times a day.
  6. Use cool to reduce swelling. If your joints are swelling as a result of your arthritis, apply cold using a cold pack or a bag of ice wrapped in a towel.
  7. Get a Swedish massage. Massages can relieve muscle tension and ease your fatigue. Swedish massages in particular focus on joints and muscles in order to improve their function.
  8. Try acupuncture. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, acupuncture needles can stimulate nerves to release endorphins, the body's natural painkiller. You can get more information about acupuncture services at UC Irvine Health by visiting the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine.
  9. Get some exercise. Stretching exercises can help keep your joints flexible, while low-impact activities such as swimming or walking can improve your overall fitness.
  10. Follow your doctor's advice. Take all of your medications as directed, have the appropriate lab work done, keep up with your appointments and get regular exercise as directed.

Arthritis Resources

Read on for more information about arthritis:

2014 Walk to Cure Arthritis

Join UC Irvine Health Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. Ran Schwarzkopf at the 2014 Walk to Cure Arthritis, where he will be the medical honoree for his work with arthritis patients. The walk takes place June 1, 2014, at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA. Visit the 2014 Walk to Cure Arthritis website for more information ›

To learn more, call 714-456-7012 or schedule an appointment online ›

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