The verdict finally came through: you have been diagnosed with arthritis. This may come as a shock to you. Of course, you knew something was wrong, but maybe you were hoping that it would pass or that the doctor would offer you a cure. But now you’ve got to face the music and accept your chronic illness. When the initial shock, anger and sadness have passed, it is time to look at the future. Getting proactive about your condition is the best way, if not the only way, to effectively cope with your arthritis diagnosis. So take action and follow these tips to take control of your arthritis and your life!
1. Educate yourself
- Understand your treatment and its importance.
- Find out about alternative treatments.
- Know the dos and don’ts .
- Get useful tips on ways to manage arthritis in everyday life.
- Find useful resources to help you.
All in all, education will give you a better control over the symptoms of arthritis and its evolution.
2. Keep an arthritis journal
Making a daily diary detailing what you are going through, you can begin to see trends that will indicate what triggers your pain. It can also help your doctor in choosing or adjusting a medication. Take note of:
- The location of your pain.
- Its severity.
- How it started (what you were doing before, what you have eaten).
- What you tried to ease the pain and the result.
- How long the pain lasted.
3. Get organized
If you already suffer disabilities due to your arthritis, there are many things you can do to ease your everyday life:
- Get specialized equipment to help you with difficult tasks. There are many accessories available that can make your life easier: pens, silverware or can openers to mention a few.
- Organize your house (put things to your height, use light cooking ware, etc).
- Check in your community: some have services like Meals on Wheels or offer bus trips to the grocery or bank.
- Read our articles in the Arthritis Advice section of this site!
4. Talk about it
Try talking about your symptoms with friends, family, and other close relatives. They should know that you have arthritis, and what effects it can have on you. Arthritis can cause difficulty in your life, which can make you stressed, sad or frustrated. These effects may confuse people if they aren’t aware what you’re dealing with. If you let them know what’s going on, you help yourself because they will be understanding when you get stressed because of your condition.
Consider going to counseling if you feel too overwhelmed with your arthritis diagnosis. It is sometimes easier to talk about your feelings with a stranger than to our family and friends.
Whatever person you choose, do confide yourself. Don’t stay alone with your diagnosis.
5. Reach out!
There are support groups in the community with people experiencing the same things you are, ready and willing to talk to you. You can get encouragement and learn may tips that way. It is also possible to share on the internet where you can find many forums on arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation Forum
Look for help in your community: try to find volunteer programs that offer services like Meals on Wheels.
An arthritis diagnosis can be frightening, frustrating, and overwhelming for anyone. These are all normal reactions. You can take action now to empower yourself. With a positive mindset and the right treatment program, you can significantly reduce the impact that arthritis has on your life.
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