Coping With Osteoarthritis
When you find out that you have osteoarthritis, you may be scared and worried about how it may change your life, work, and relationships.
It's hard to know how fast your arthritis may progress. Your symptoms may come and go, stay the same, or get worse over time. Some days you may feel fine and be able to do the things you need—and want—to do with little pain. Other days the pain may be too much for you to do simple tasks like getting dressed or brushing your teeth.
At times you may feel overwhelmed, tired, and angry. You may be afraid that you might become disabled and not be able to care for yourself. You may even wonder if you'll be able to continue to work. These feelings are normal. Most people who have arthritis feel this way at one time or another.
Some people with arthritis also feel down or depressed. They may describe this as feeling "depressed," "unhappy," "short-tempered," "blue," or "down in the dumps." If you feel like this most of the time, tell your doctor. Treating these symptoms may help you feel better and make it easier for you to do your daily tasks.
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.
Studies have shown that people who are part of a support group and who take an education course, such as an arthritis management course from the Arthritis Foundation, have less pain and depression and are more mobile.1
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:
Adopting a "good-health attitude" and healthy habits, such as eating a balanced diet, staying at a healthy weight, and getting enough sleep, will make you feel better and help you stay active.
When you think in a positive way, you may be more able to:
Support your caregiver
If a family member or friend is helping to care for you, be sure to let that person know how grateful you are for the help.
Keep in mind that your caregiver's life may be changing along with yours. And he or she may be dealing with some of the same emotions as you are. Talking is a great way for each of you to share your concerns and support for each other.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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