Arthritis Sufferers Can Improve Quality of Life with Daily Living Aids

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May is Arthritis Awareness Month, and 2012 marks 60 years of education and life-improving programs from the Arthritis Foundation. Dianna Malkowski of The CareGiver Partnership offers tips on incorporating daily living aids into an arthritis treatment program.

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Dianna Malkowski, Physician Assistant & Nutritionist

Your doctor may prescribe any combination of rest, heat therapy, physical therapy, prescription medications, supplements or weight loss.

Daily living aids combined with prescribed treatment can improve the quality of life for individuals with arthritis, says Dianna Malkowski, physician assistant, nutritionist and professional adviser for The CareGiver Partnership.

“Common symptoms of arthritis pain include joint stiffness, pain or swelling; limited mobility in areas like shoulders, knees or hands; numbness in fingers, legs or toes; and throbbing in the hips,” says Malkowski. “Before visiting a doctor to see if you may have arthritis, it’s helpful to have a written record of what type of pain you’re suffering from, times of day it’s worse, if the pain is shooting or constant, and whether you’ve tried any treatments and had success.”

As a national direct-to-consumer retailer of incontinence supplies and other home healthcare products for seniors and caregivers, The CareGiver Partnership recommends those with arthritis consider the following for relief:

  • Therapy braces for ankles, elbows, knees, wrist and back, which can reduce swelling and relieve pain using hot and cold therapy.
  • Arthritis pads that provide intense moist heat without adding water. Look for products with switches for auto-off and that offer timed therapy in stages.
  • Moist heat packs that offer short treatments of high-temperature moist heat alternating with cool-down, which can temporarily relieve arthritis pain by increasing circulation. Look for products with an automatic switch that shuts off if the user’s finger relaxes, such as while falling asleep.
  • Reaching tools that help relieve muscle strain caused by reaching and stretching.

“In addition, your doctor may prescribe any combination of rest, heat therapy, physical therapy, prescription medications, supplements or weight loss,” Malkowski says.

To learn more about these daily living aids for those with arthritis, see The CareGiver Partnership’s arthritis relief page or blog.

Dianna Malkowski is a Board Certified Physician Assistant and Mayo Clinic trained nutritionist specializing in diabetes, cancer, wound healing, therapeutic diets and nutrition support. She serves on the board of professional advisers for The CareGiver Partnership and enjoys working with patients and caregivers alike. Ask Dianna a question.

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Tom Wilson