Coping With Osteoarthritis - Topic Overview
Ways to cope
Even though living with arthritis
can be stressful, the good news is that you can do some simple things to feel
better and keep the joy in your life and relationships.
- Ask your family and friends for help. Don't be afraid to let people help you with some of your
tasks, especially on days when you have a lot of pain.
- Balance activity with rest. If you get tired when you do a
task, break the task down into smaller tasks, and rest between
- Learn ways to reduce stress. Stress can make your pain feel worse. You might try deep breathing and relaxation exercises or meditation to help reduce stress and relax your mind and
- Meet with friends. At times, you
may not want to go out because you're too tired or don't want to be seen using
a cane or wheelchair. But being social can help you feel better. If you isolate
yourself, you may get depressed.
- See a counselor.Cognitive-behavioral therapy allows you to express
your fears and concerns and learn new ways of coping with
- Be creative. Find ways to still
do the things that you enjoy, but do them in a different way that doesn't cause
pain. For example, plant flowers in a raised garden bed instead of planting
them directly into the ground. Then you won't have to kneel.
- Join a support group. This is a great
place to share your concerns and hear how other people cope with the challenges
of arthritis. Online forums and chat groups are also good places to find
- Keep a pain diary. Write down how
your moods, thoughts, sleep patterns, activities, and medicine affect your
pain. Having a record of your pain can help you and your doctor find the best
ways to treat your pain.
- Educate yourself.
The more you know about arthritis, the more you'll be able to cope with any
lifestyle changes that you may need to make as your symptoms get worse.
Encourage your family and friends to learn about arthritis too. Then they can know
what you're dealing with and learn ways they can help you.
If your arthritis makes it hard for
you to do your job, talk to your boss about what changes you can make to your
schedule and things you can do to
modify your work area.
You might ask
- You can have a later start
- You can work part-time or work from home.
- You can
switch to a light-duty position, if your job involves a lot of lifting,
bending, or standing.