Tips for Managing Daily Arthritis Pain

Hands holding chess piece

Photo by Ian Sane via Flickr

Arthritis is a condition that can make even the simplest tasks difficult to manage. Severe aching and pain in your joints makes tasks like buttoning your shirt a painful and time consuming event. Most likely you, or someone you know, are one of the millions of Americans who suffer with arthritis. With May as Arthritis Awareness Month, we’ve put together a list of things you can do to reduce the pain of daily tasks and ways you can help someone with arthritis.

Managing the everyday

If you mentally walk through your morning routine, how many times do you use your hands?  Think about turning off your alarm, opening your bedroom door, and gripping your toothbrush to brush your teeth.  You will need to turn the water on and off to wash your face, and your hands will also be used to floss, brush your hair, and apply a moisturizer or maybe makeup.  If you don’t suffer from arthritic pain, these little tasks are routines you might not ever even think about.  But the pain of arthritis makes this daily to-do list not only challenging, but painful.

Currently, arthritis does not have a cure. Modifying your life to reduce your pain and aches can help you manage your arthritis. Don’t let arthritis keep you from doing the things you love. Instead, try some of these tips to help manage your arthritic pain.

Reducing the pain

Some medications can help reduce arthritis pain, as can certain surgeries. However, pain that accompanies the little things you do each day are symptoms that can be managed. By slightly altering your daily routine, you can make things easier on your joints.

Cleaning your house

  • When dusting, don’t grip a dust rag. Instead, slip an old pair of gloves or socks on your hands.
  • Keep a full set of cleaning supplies on each floor of your house. This will eliminate a painful trip upstairs if you forget the Windex.
  • During kneeling tasks (scrubbing tubs or floors), kneel on one knee and switch frequently to avoid simultaneous pressure.
  • Alternate sitting and standing tasks.
  • Avoid fatigue by taking frequent breaks.

In the kitchen

  • Use a pizza cutter to cut sandwiches and other foods instead gripping a knife.
  • Sit on a high barstool next to the counter instead of standing for long periods of time.
  • Purchase pre-cut ingredients to eliminate extra knife work.
  • Paper bag your groceries. Carrying your paper bag close to your body is easier on arthritic hands rather than holding heavy plastic bags.

Dressing and grooming

  • Using an electric toothbrush can ease hand pain.
  • Look for clothes without buttons, or use a button hook to help you.
  • Lined clothing is easier to slip on and off, which can reduce wrestling in and out of outfits.

How to help

There are things you can do all year long to help raise arthritis awareness and raise money for research.  Everything from galas to fundraising runs and walks help those with arthritis. Visit here to find out what is happening where you live.  These events are a great way to get you, your community, and even your company involved in arthritis awareness.

If you are close to someone with arthritis, lending a helping hand can be a great way to help out close to home.  Grocery shopping can require a lot of reaching, which can be painful and straining.  Ask if you can help out with a weekly grocery trip.  Or, see if you can help out around the house or yard to cut down on tasks that may be difficult.  This month of arthritis awareness, we should all try to find ways we can raise awareness and help someone who suffers from arthritis.

There are also ways you can reach out for help. If you have questions about how arthritis factors into social security benefits, or other legal questions about a disability, please call at (801) 890-1030 or come in for a free consultation.