What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a disease that causes pain and stiffness in your joints.
Your joints are the parts of your body that bend, like:
Arthritis can be painful.
Arthritis can make it hard to live an active life.
You can learn more about arthritis here.
Arthritis may feel worse during the winter.
When you stop being physically active, your joints can become stiff and sore.
- Most people are less active during the winter
Cold, damp weather can also make your bones and joints ache.
What can you do to manage arthritis pain?
Physical activity can help you control arthritis pain by:
- Reducing pain and stiffness in your joints
- Keeping you flexible
- Building muscle strength
- Giving you more energy
Physical activity can also:
- Make it easier to do everyday activities, like climbing stairs or lifting bags of groceries
- Improve your overall health and mood
Even a little exercise helps.
Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise several times a week can improve your health.
- Don’t overdo it – balance exercise with rest
- Be realistic – don’t do too much too soon
Ask your doctor to recommend exercises that will help manage your arthritis.
Be creative - when it’s cold out, exercise indoors.
- Walk around the mall
- Swim in an indoor pool
- Take an aerobics or yoga class
- Put on the music and dance
- Lift weights at your local gym
- Do some housework
- Play with kids or your favorite pet dog
Be especially careful going outside in winter.
Be careful when walking on icy, wet, or slippery surfaces.
When you go outside, dress warmly.
- Wear loose layers of clothing
- Protect your hands and feet from the cold and damp by wearing mittens, socks and waterproof boots
Ask your doctor if you should use heating pads or ice packs to reduce pain.
- Heating pads may relax your muscles.
- Ice packs may numb sore spots and reduce swelling.
It may help to think of things besides the pain
Think positive thoughts!
- What are your best memories?
- What are you planning?
Do Fun Things!
- Tell jokes or funny stories
- Read a comic book
- Watch a funny movie or TV show
Talk with your friends or family!
- Share stories
Other ideas to help forget the pain are...
- Work on or start a new hobby or fun activity
- Sing karaoke or dance up a storm
- Play a game with friends
If the pain gets worse, talk to your doctor.
Your doctor can help you find ways to manage your arthritis pain.
You can learn more on the DDS Safety Net!
Check out these presentations about:
You can learn more about controlling arthritis pain.
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases – Living with Arthritis
- Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center – Strategies to Increase Your Physical Activity