How to Treat Arthritis

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How to Treat Arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting at least 20 million Americans. It is degenerative, meaning that symptoms tend to worsen as you age. Proper treatment is essential to slowing the progression.

Things You'll Need

  • Warm Clothes
  • Aspirins
  • Warm Compresses
  • Relaxation Tapes
  • Child's Wagon

Exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day, and get a full eight hours of sleep at night. Avoid any exercise that produces joint pain that lasts an hour after the exercise is over. Don't attempt to "walk off the pain."

Practice good body posture, and lift heavy items with your hip muscles, not your back. Never carry something if you can pull it behind you.

Practice range-of-motion exercises, or have physical therapy. Ask your doctor or local hospital about exercise classes or hydrotherapy, which is gentle exercising done in the water.

Elevate the affected joint or joints for 15 minutes a day, several times a day.

Apply warm compresses to the painful joints. Generally, 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off works best.

Lose weight if you are overweight.

Sleep on a firm mattress and avoid soft chairs.

Protect your joints by wearing warm clothing.

Ask your doctor about splints, canes, and/or surgery for unrelenting pain or deformity caused by arthritis.

Practice yoga or listen to relaxation tapes. Muscles surround your joints, and a tense muscle applies stress to a joint.

Talk to your doctor about taking aspirin for pain. It is the drug of choice for arthritic discomfort. Consider indomethacin, ibuprofen and/or naproxen for arthritic pain unrelieved with aspirin, or if you are allergic to aspirin.

Tips & Warnings

  • Educate yourself about arthritis. The more you know, the more you can control your recovery.
  • For more information, call the Arthritis Foundation at (800) 283-7800.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, contact a physician or other health care professional before engaging in any activity related to health and diet. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

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