Contrary to popular belief, arthritis isn’t a disease restricted to the silver-haired set. †According to Cari Taylor, manager of education and services for The Arthritis Society, BC and Yukon Division, one in six adult Canadians has some form of it, with 56 percent of those afflicted under the age of 65. The good news? Regardless of your age, these tools can help make living with arthritis pain much easier.
Download an App
Taylor notes that interest in app use varies among people living with arthritis, but they can be useful tools for those looking to keep tabs on pain levels, daily activities, nutrition intake, mood, medications and more. “Some apps allow you to set goals, stay up-to-date in many areas of life that arthritis can affect, and get an idea of how certain activities and undertakings affect how you feel,” she says. For example, the Track + React app is a great go-to option to help you stay organized, and it’s free to download on iPhones, iPads or Android devices.
Track Your Zzzs
While losing out on sleep isn’t likely to cause an arthritis flare up, it can raise your stress levels, deplete concentration abilities and affect your mood, all of which can exacerbate the condition, Taylor says. “People in chronic pain usually aren’t getting enough sleep, whether because they don’t nap enough, or aren’t taking time to rest and relax.” Wearable devices like the Jawbone UP wristband can help you understand how you sleep and move during the night. Jawbone’s app allows users to get in-depth details on sleep activity, offering insights on whether you’re logging enough snooze time, and how restful it is.
Try a Fitness Aid
“A lot of people with arthritis think because an activity or movement hurts that it’s their signal to stop altogether, when really all they need to do is modify the move and work through the pain,” Taylor says, “but only when not in a flare-up.” Use a fast-acting and long-lasting pain relief medication, such as TYLENOL® Arthritis Pain, to help relieve pain, and move each joint in the body through all its available movements every day to maintain flexibility and range of motion. Add weights to strengthen the areas surrounding problematic joints. Engaging in aerobic and endurance activities such as walking is also key, so Taylor suggests people living with arthritis consider using a pedometer to track movements. Striiv Smart Pedometer features a coloured touch screen to record steps, calories burned, distance and time.
Keep a Journal
Life is busy and being organized isn’t always easy. That’s where journaling can help – especially when it comes to tracking which medications and other pain-relief options work best for you. “Sometimes medication is a quick and sure-fire fix for people living with arthritis, but I advocate that people search out additional methods that may work for them, and write down how they feel after the fact. Sometimes a hot or cold compress, time in a hot tub or sauna, or even meditation, which can help get your mind off the pain your body is experiencing, can work wonders at subsiding discomfort.”
Use What You’ve Got
Use your cell phone or wristwatch to help prompt you to take medication or move around. “I set my alarm on my phone to go off every half hour as a cue to do something active, even if only for two or three minutes at a time,” says Taylor. Not tech-savvy? Don’t worry. Simple household items – think using soup cans as weights and grabbing a towel at opposite ends for resistance when stretching – can engage your muscles and joints, and ease some of the pain caused by arthritis.
†TYLENOL® Arthritis Pain is indicated for the fast and long-lasting relief of arthritis pain.
†2014, Rogers Healthcare Group Surveys on OTC Counselling and Recommendations
© Johnson & Johnson Inc. 2014