May is Arthritis Awareness Month, and we want to use this blog to discuss the basics of arthritis for those Omaha caregivers who might not have a robust understanding of it.
Living with arthritis can be tough for both seniors and their families when limiting symptoms interfere with daily activities. Luckily, new ways of managing arthritis pain and stiffness are being discovered every day. With practice and dedication, many seniors can experience significant relief through treatment.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is essentially inflammation. While inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or illness and can actually be beneficial in healing, prolonged inflammation, such as the kind that occurs in arthritis, can lead to many unfavorable effects. Pain, stiffness, and swelling are the most commonly experienced symptoms.
There are over 100 types of arthritis, but the most common are osteoarthritis, which most often affects the hands, knees, hips and spine, and rheumatoid arthritis, which focuses on the hands, knees, wrists and feet. While osteoarthritis solely affects the joints, rheumatoid arthritis involves the immune system and can affect a senior’s skin, eyes and even lungs.
Treatments That Work
Fortunately, mild to moderate arthritis can be confronted with a few simple lifestyle changes. Maintaining a healthy weight ensures that the joints aren’t put under excessive pressure. Regular stretching can work wonders towards relieving stiffness and pain, and many people find physical therapy helpful. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are also useful in reducing pain and come with minimal side effects. In more severe cases, a doctor may prescribe narcotic pain medications. These medications are very effective, but they come with unsavory side effects, including the risk of addition, so it’s important to have regular checkups with a knowledgeable doctor when using narcotic medications.
Regardless of type and severity, a person living with arthritis needs a strong support system. Loved ones and a trusted Omaha home care provider are essential to ensuring a healthy and comfortable environment that promotes health, wellness, and independence. If you’d like to find the additional support your loved one needs and deserves, let Home Care Assistance help. We offer flexible hourly care and never require long-term contracts. Give a knowledgeable Care Manager a call at (402) 763-9140 and schedule a free consultation. We look forward to providing help every step of the way.