Arthritis can damper an ordinary life and strike when you least expect it. And it can affect your life in many ways.
Instead of getting derailed by unwanted symptoms, know that you aren't alone. There are many right there with you who are fighting their everyday symptoms and learning how to take back their strength one day at a time. Welcome to the new normal, we're right here with you.
Here's how arthritis is affecting the lives of just a few and what they're doing about it:
"I've been diagnosed with osteopenia, which is the precursor to osteoarthritis. Since I've learned about it, I've had to make a few changes to accommodate what's happening to my body. The biggest lesson I've learned is to give yourself a few days to recuperate after a big trip, a hard workout, or time spent doing yard work. I also make sure to have a bone scan at least once a year. I've learned that weight lifting, taking calcium and using a great pain cream helps me lead a normal day-to-day life. I also keep Ibuprofen and a heating pad on hand as well."
-Carol Bowden, Tazewell, Virginia
"Trusting your instincts is the best thing you can do when it comes to treating your arthritis. I worked with my hands for many years and when I stopped, the pain was almost unbearable. Starting slowly to use my hands and keep them moving is what ultimately helped fight my arthritis pain. My best advice is to keep moving!"
-Ann Horn, Killeen, Texas
"My ankylosing spondylitis was difficult to pin down. It was the third diagnosis and is the one that my rheumatologist has stuck with for the past two years. As with any autoimmune disorder, one of the most common complaints is a flu-like sensation nearly every day. AS is all that with the added bonus of being unable to breathe deeply because one's ribs slowly lose their ability to expand. That is particularly problematic because I am a singer, and it isn't easy to support your voice if you can't catch a full breath. I was also a student-athlete and had continued biking and running into my adult life. Thankfully I can walk, even though my gait is a bit awkward, but running is entirely out of the question. Even though I had envisioned myself in an Iron Man competition, it is very frustrating to realize that a significant amount of what I would consider daily living activities is restricted. As far as coping tips go, I have tried several. Oral medication is mostly ineffective, with naproxen sodium, Aleve, being the best for me. Two things that seem to help more than anything are stretching exercises such as yoga and getting an adequate amount of sleep. Having said that, the disease makes either one of those activities difficult. You know the cycle. If you can't sleep because of discomfort, you are up wandering about the house at all hours, being tempted to either snack or take additional pain meds or both. Moist heat does provide temporary relief, so I use the spa at the Y in Paris frequently."
-Farrell Steven Osborne, North Middletown, Kentucky