Tools and Advice for Coping with Arthritis

elderly woman with hand arthritis grimace in pain.
Arthritis causes daily pain in any joint it effects but there are ways to cope with arthritis.

Arthritis is a scary disease, both for the sufferers and their loved ones. It causes daily pain and discomfort that affects even simple, daily tasks. Wondering how you can best help yourself or someone in your life with arthritis? Read on to learn more.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a medical condition that wears away the cartilage that protects your joints. Cartilage basically cushions the areas between your joints, so when it becomes weak or wears away completely, it leaves the bones in the joint to rub directly against each other, causing a lot of pain and inflammation.

This deterioration also decreases the amount of synovial fluid, which is what keeps the joint lubricated. This causes immense amounts of stiffness in joints on top of the pain and inflammation.

Arthritis can happen anywhere in your body, but it’s most commonly felt in the wrists, fingers, and knees, and your chances of getting it increase as you get older.

Types of Arthritis

  • Osteoarthritis – This first kind of arthritis is naturally developing, and most common in elderly people. It develops over time, naturally wearing away the cartilage as our body generally gets weaker and we can’t produce the fibers needed to maintain those areas anymore. It’s more common for older people who are inactive and don’t move their joints very often.
  • Psoriatic Arthritis – Psoriatic arthritis is a condition with similar symptoms as osteoarthritis, but it occurs because of an inflammatory disorder rather than natural deterioration of the joint. This is often accompanied by other issues like IBS or other inflammatory disorders.
  • Post-traumatic Arthritis – Post-traumatic arthritis is just like what it sounds like, a deterioration of the joints due to injury. This can occur at any age and under any circumstances, and the symptoms are often gradual and may not even be attributed to the injury right away.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – This is probably the worst kind of arthritis you can get. Rheumatoid arthritis is incredibly debilitating and painful, and usually occurs in multiple parts of the body at the same time, making any kind of movement very difficult and pain-inducing.

Common Symptoms

Obviously, symptoms will depend on the type and severity of the arthritis, but generally, the disease is accompanied by pain and swelling, and sometimes distortion, of the joints. Also, inflammation and creaking sounds are common. Muscles around those joints become very weak, and many types of the condition can also be accompanied by intense fatigue from exerting so much energy on simple tasks.

How Arthritis Affects Daily Life

Any type of arthritis can make daily tasks, as simple as turning a doorknob, extremely difficult and painful. People who have arthritis in their hands especially undergo a huge amount of pain every day, since we use our hands for pretty much every task.

Think about it – when you wake up in the morning, you use your hands to take the covers off. Then you use your hands to brush your teeth, wash your face, and brush your hair. You then use your hands to make breakfast, get the mail, read the morning paper or scroll through your phone or tablet, and if you go on through the day, you’ll find most of your tasks are done with your hand.

Your hands, and really any joint, are an integral part of living a normal life. So when they’re out of commission, it can be painful both physically and psychologically.

Additional Resources for Coping With Arthritis

Living with arthritis puts a strain on every part of a senior’s lifestyle. So, helping them with simple tasks like cooking or getting dressed can make a world of difference to them. Arthritis is a very painful, debilitating condition, so any bit of help you can provide for your loved one will be appreciated.

I have also written the following guides to coping with arthritis. These guides offer tips and advice for living with arthritis on a daily basis while making independent living easier and (hopefully) less painful.

The Best Can Openers for Arthritic Hands

For an elderly person suffering from arthritis, not much hurts more than trying to open a can of food. The squeezing and twisting action required of this task can be so excruciatingly painful to inflamed,…

Foods that Help with Arthritis Inflammation

While arthritis can be a painful and difficult disease to live with, your diet can actually improve the severity of your symptoms. There’s no dietary “cure” for arthritis, but eating anti-inflammatory foods can help you…