5. Minimize Joint Pain and Strain
“By using a little advance planning, you can avoid unnecessary strain on troublesome joints,” says Lorig. If you have to climb stairs for something, for instance, think about anything else you might need to bring up or down. That way you can minimize the number of trips you have to take.
6. Use Arthritis-Friendly Wheels
The wheel was a terrific invention. So use it. Folding metal carts, wheeled tea carts, utility carts, and wheeled briefcases or suitcases are great ways to move items from place to place without having to carry them. If you’re buying a cart, try out several models to find the one that feels best to you. Ideally, folding carts should be sturdy but light, with a handle that feels comfortable in your hands.
7. Try Arthritis Assistive Devices
Today, many kinds of tools and gadgets are available in designs made to minimize the strain on joints, especially fingers and hands. Examples include:
- Ergonomic computer keyboards. Designed so that your hands and wrists are aligned to minimize pinching of the nerves in your wrist, these keyboards have been shown to reduce pressure within the carpal tunnel, which carries the nerves that control the hand. Some ergonomic keyboards are adjustable, allowing you to find the position that’s most comfortable for you.
- Doorknob extenders. These clever devices eliminate the need for closing your hand around the knob -- something that can be painful if you have arthritis in your hands or fingers.
- Book holders. If your work involves consulting books or manuals, desktop book holders are a great way to minimize strain on your hands. Another new option is eBook readers, which are typically much lighter than books and can be propped up in stands on your desk.
- Pencil grips. If you use a pencil at work, buy a pencil grip, which wraps around the shaft of the pencil, creating a much wider grip. Some pens come with built-in grips.
- Ergonomically designed implements. Many tools, from scissors to screwdrivers, come in varieties designed to minimize joint pain. Because no two people with arthritis are exactly alike, it’s wise to try out several models in order to choose the one that’s best for you.
8. Reduce Stress and Ease Joint Pain
“The issue for people with arthritis is managing pain, and pain comes from many sources,” says Lorig. “Stress, depression, and fatigue can also increase pain.” So in addition to finding practical strategies and tools to minimize joint strain, it’s important to find ways to relieve stress and maintain a practical outlook.
Learning a few specific relaxation techniques, such as progressive relaxation or meditation, can help. Taking a little time each day for exercise has also been shown to help ease stress and depression. “Exercise has the added benefit of strengthening joint muscles and improving flexibility,” says Lorig. That, in turn, may help ease arthritis pain.