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Arthritis Overview

Arthritis, also called osteoarthritis is a breakdown of cartilage that cushions your joints.

When the cartilage wears down, your bones rub against each other.

Arthritis most often affects the joints of the spine, hands, hips, knees or feet.

Arthritis never goes away completely. However, medicine and home treatments can help to reduce pain and help you to stay active.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety! Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your provider if you are having questions or problems.

It is always a good idea to know your test results and to keep a list of the medications that you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

· Stay at a healthy weight, extra weight puts a strain on your joints

· Talk to your provider, nurse or physical therapist about exercises that will help ease joint pain.

-Stretch- gentle forms of yoga can help keep your joints and muscles flexible

-Walk instead of jog. Other exercises that are less stressful on joint include riding a bike, swimming or other water exercises and tai chi

-Lift weights. Strong muscles help reduce stress on your joints. For example, stronger thigh muscles take some stress off the knees and hips. Be sure to learn the correct way to lift weights to you don’t make joint pain worse.

· Take your medication exactly as prescribes. If your provider has not prescribed a pain medication ask if it is OK to take an over-the-counter medicine.

· Use a cane, walker or other device if you need help to get around. These can help you to rest your joints. You can also use other equipment to make your life easier, such as a raised or higher toilet seat and padded handles on kitchen utensils.

· Avoid sitting in low chairs, they can make it harder to get up.

· Try heat or cold on your sore joints. (if ok with your provider) use whichever helps you the most. You can also switch between cold and hot packs.

-apply heat 2 or 3 times a day for 20-30minutes using a heating pad, hot shower, or hot pack to relieve pain and stiffness (Do not use heat on a swollen joint)

-put ice or a cold pack on your sore joint for 10-20 minutes at a time. Be sure to put a cloth between your skin and the ice!

Call your provider or seek immediate medical attention if:

· You have sudden swelling, warmth or new/increased pain.

· You have joint pain and a fever or rash

Always let your provider know if you are having trouble with your medications.

If you have questions about a medical condition or these tips always ask your healthcare professional.

Best Concierge Nurse Case Management can help you make of list of things to speak with your provider about, create and manage your medication list and assist in obtaining and coordinating physical therapy.


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