Unfortunately, since arthritis is often not identified as a severe/chronic condition such as heart disease or Alzheimer’s disease, many people who suffer from this disease go without the proper diagnosis, treatment and care they need. Seek the opinion of a healthcare professional and physician, if you experience the following warning signs:
• Pain in the joints, ankle, back, fingers, hands, muscles, neck, or wrist
• Flare-ups, limping, physical deformity, redness, or stiff neck
• Decreased range of motion or muscle weakness
• Joint stiffness, tenderness, or swelling
• Bumps or bony outgrowth on fingers or toes
• Sharp and intermittent pain
• Pain that occurs while sitting
• Whole body fatigue
To help address the issue of under-diagnosis, Arthritis Awareness Month was created and observed in May here in the U.S. The goal of observance is to raise awareness for how those with arthritis are living well and acknowledge everyday victories. Those living with arthritis are encouraged to share their story with colleagues, friends, and family and loved ones to better understand the disease and how it affects patients.
One important key to managing the pain is to get moving and stay active. Arthritis patients should walk 30 minutes each day. Does this sound like too much for you? Then, start with ten minutes a day and increase your time, as you’re able. Keeping your body moving on a regular basis increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and helps combat fatigue.
If it sounds overwhelming to start exercising with already stiff and sore joints, don’t get dissuaded. There are many people around the world living full and happy lives even with arthritis. Take some time and read a few success stories on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. There are lots of people that have found ways to manage their disease and the related pain. You may get a few ideas for your life, and will hopefully feel more optimistic. Keep in mind; there are many treatments available that can help ease the pain. Such as: stretching, massage, acupuncture, physical exercise, weight loss, Tai chi, yoga, heat and cold compress, medication, surgery, joint replacement.
Start a conversation with your general practitioner for advice, but if you’re not getting the results you want, ask for a referral to a specialist. Depending on your situation, you may need to seek the advice of an orthopedic surgeon, rheumatologist, physical therapist, etc.
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