For many people living with arthritis, managing pain is a part of daily life. Arming yourself with information is the first step along the road to pain control and living life with arthritis to the full.
This is a condensed version. To read the full version download our Managing Pain booklet.
In this section:
- Using your joints well
- The importance of rest and relaxation
- Complementary therapies
- Pain relief
- Getting the support you need
You may find that your arthritis makes it difficult to carry out some everyday tasks, and that you get tired or exhausted easily. However, you can reduce the stress on your joints by finding new and different ways of doing things.
Tips for using your joints well
1. Respect pain. If you have increased pain lasting for at least a couple of hours after you’ve completed a task, try do a little less next time, or go about it in a way that takes less effort.
2. Become aware of your body positions. It is a good idea to avoid being in one position for a long time, or any posture that makes you feel stiff. It can help to avoid activities that need a tight grip or put too much pressure on your fingers. Try using equipment that helps to reduce stress on joints, such as easy-turn taps, a pick-up reacher, hand rails or raised seats.
3. Try to maintain a healthy weight, as this helps to reduce stress on weight-bearing joints. It can lessen joint pain, and even helps to avoid joint damage.
4. Use your largest and strongest joints and muscles for daily tasks wherever possible. For example, use a bag with a shoulder strap across your back, rather than holding a case or bag in one hand.
5. Try to balance rest with activity. Striking a good balance takes some practice: take breaks as and when you need them, but avoid resting for lengthy periods, as this can cause muscle stiffness.
6. Simplify your work. Plan ahead, organise and create short cuts. At work, for example, try to make good use of break times to change your position, move around and relax.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Take responsibility for yourself and ask for assistance when you need it.