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    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 them.
    • 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 muscles.
    • 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 arthritis.
    • 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 support.
    • 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.

    At work

    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 if:

    • You can have a later start time.
    • 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.
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