West Virginia Assistive Technology System

Arthritis

Did You Know?

If you often experience joint pain, you are not alone. Arthritis is a term used to describe more than 100 conditions of the joints and/or surrounding connective tissue. Osteoarthritis is the most common form. It is caused by gradual breakdown of joint cartilage that cushions the bones. Cartilage is found in the knees, hips, hands and spine. Arthritis symptoms include redness, heat, pain and swelling.

Common Arthritis Myths


woman putting dish in dishwasher

"Losing weight won't help my arthritis."
The heavier you are, the more likely you are to have arthritis. A weight loss of just 11 pounds can help avoid knee osteoarthritis.

"If I have arthritis, I shouldn't exercise."

two women tend to a raised flowerbed

Thirty minutes of moderate physical activity at least three days a week can decrease pain and improve joint function. Short 10 minute activity bursts during the day can add up to 30 minutes. Move more for healthy joints.

"Medications are the only way to deal with joint pain."
There are other safe and natural ways to ease arthritis pain, such as massage or acupuncture. What works for one person may not work for someone else.

Tips for Healthy Joints

  • Talk to Your Health Care Provider
    Although there is no cure for most types of arthritis, early diagnosis, treatment and daily care are important. Ask your provider if you have arthritis about how to relieve stiffness and pain. Tell your provider if you take any herbs or over-the-counter medications.
  • Protect Your Joints
    Avoid joint injury to reduce your risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Take Charge of Your Pain

Arthritis pain can get worse if you have stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression and if you focus on the pain.

man on three-wheeled bike

Try:

  • Resting the sore joint
  • Massage therapy
  • Topical pain relievers like Ben Gay, Icy Hot and Flex-All 454
  • Alternating heat and cold treatments like a warm shower or ice packs on your joint.
  • Keeping a positive attitude. Focus on all you enjoy and can do each day.
  • Using ergonomic tools with large handles and large grips.
  • Keeping a healthy weight
  • Moving more. Moving your joints reduces stiffness. Activity increases flexibility and balance.
  • Relaxing! Have a good laugh. Read some comics or a funny book. Call a friend and tell them a joke.
  • Enroll in self-study programs like the Arthritis Foundation's Self-Management Program or community classes offered at your local senior or community center.

Find Out More:

Learn how to manage your arthritis. Call the Arthritis Foundation at 800-383-6843, or visit www.arthritis.org.

Find a qualified Arthritis Exercise Trainer in your community. Call 304-558-1717 or visit the West Virginia Osteoporosis and Arthritis Program at www.wvbonenjoint.org.

Find easy to follow tips for taking charge of your arthritis at the American Arthritis Society. Call 877-294-7062 or visit www.americanarthritis.org.