Arthritis is one of the most common causes of disability in the UK and the USA and affects people in different ways depending on the severity and type of arthritis that they have, osteoarthritis being the most common and caused by a previous joint break or infection but most commonly caused by age. Rheumatoid arthritis which most people have heard of can affect many tissues and organs within the body and mainly attacks joints and can be very disabling and painful. Unless you have arthritis or know somebody that does it is a very difficult condition to explain its severity and just how disabling it can be.
This article is not designed to educate you about arthritis, its background or why one person may get arthritis and another doesn’t and is most certainly not going to attempt to sell you that miracle cure that am afraid is not yet out there, it is merely to provide information about support, resources and provide you with information about what you as an individual can do to alleviate the symptoms and pain of arthritis.
The first step of course has to be to visit your GP, there are many different types of drugs used for the treatment of arthritis and many do improve the condition but more importantly slow down the process and make the pain more bearable, also don’t dismiss complementary and alternative medicines, they may not be good for everybody but this is becoming more and more recognised and even now recommended and reported on by Arthritis Research UK.
The biggest and undoubtedly the most beneficial arthritic relief comes from gentle exercise, Tai Chi being recommended by many arthritis organisations, the bases is very simple and that is to keep the joints moving and not seizing up, another very beneficial form of exercise is swimming, it appears that the warm water also helps reduce the pain of arthritis as well as the buoyancy of the water helping with movement where this might be problematic. The hardest part is of course the self-discipline in undertaking regular exercise and not giving up.
Many residential homes for the elderly have recognised the need for exercise and how it benefits conditions such as arthritis and now encourage their elderly residents to exercise by the use of the Xbox Kinect game or Nintendo Wii both can be very beneficial by helping you with gentle exercise as well as being fun and an ideal social activity. You can of course buy your own game for you to use at home.
Another recommendation and one that will help you maintain a regular exercise regime would be getting involved with others by finding and joining an arthritis support group near to you, sadly these support groups are few and far between at the moment which is rather surprising considering the abundance of support groups for other conditions and disabilities such as blind, deaf and stroke support groups.
Ableize, a very large and comprehensive UK disability and mobility resources has recently compiled a list of UK support groups for arthritis and can be found by clicking this arthritis support groups link.
Don’t be put off if you can’t find a support group near you, contacting anyone of the support groups highlighted above would no doubt assist you with starting up your own arthritis support group that would undoubtedly be very successful and in most cases completely free to set up, most towns and villages have community village halls that would be more than happy to assist you and promote your worthy cause, especially as it involves providing service to the community.
Fight arthritis and don’t let it take over your life.