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Did you know May is National Arthritis Month? Did you realize that 53 million people suffer from arthritis? I’m pretty sure if you don’t, you know someone who does. I’m much too young to suffer from arthritis and joint pain. I’m 36 if you’re wondering but in my head I’m still in my 20’s, yet my body says I’m in my 50’s. It’s not fair, but alas, most of us have learned that life isn’t always fair and some stuff just doesn’t make sense. So here I am with arthritis and chronic pain issues. I won’t lie, it sucks, some days are worse than others, but I have to suck it up and figure out how I can make it be as little of an inconvenience as possible. I won’t let it ruin my fun, my ambition, or my desire to make every day the best it can be.
Life Hacks When You Have Arthritis
As I said, some days are worse than others so on those days, it helps to have a few tricks up your sleeve to make everyday things a little easier.
- Carry a small pair of scissors with you to open packs of condiments at restaurants or any other packages that are difficult to grip and/or tear open.
- If you have a hard time getting a grip on things with your fingers, you can also use a hemostat to grab and open a variety packages. It’s better than using your teeth and makes is super easy to peel off foil lids and such.
- Now this isn’t new info., but a reminder is never a bad thing. To ease swelling and soreness, soak in Epsom salts with essential oils for some aromatherapy. Epsom salt is made of sulfate and magnesium, which help alleviate pain and every little bit helps plus who doesn’t like a good relaxing soak after a long day?
- For better grip on jars, try putting rubber bands around the lids to provide more traction to get them open. It even works on small bottles, like nail polish.
- Have a hard time with zipper, put a key ring on to zippers making it easier to grab onto with sore fingers. Pieces of string or zipper pulls also make it easier to operate zippers.
- Cold is good for RA and inflamation so keep some cold packs on hand. You can easily make an awesome gel pack with gallon Ziploc bags filled with two parts water and one part alcohol. You can also freeze plastic bags of corn syrup or dish soap.
- Heavy appliances can lead to housework being very painful so save yourself the hassle and invest in a small, lightweight canister vacuum with wheels and long or telescopic attachments for vacuuming chores. There will be less bending and stooping and less hand-gripping is needed to handle the lightweight long attachments.
- Furniture on wheels! Now just bear with me because this actually awesome regardless of if you suffer from arthritis or not. You can purchase furniture with wheels already on it or buy casters at a hardware store and add them yourself so that it’s always easy and pain free to move for cleaning and rearranging.
- Purchase things like hair brushes, toothbrushes, blow dryers, and other beauty products with the largest handles you can find. This makes them easier to grip and make sure you look for easy to open tops on products such as toothpaste, shampoon, Nexium and Advil.
If you have arthritis, it’s highly probable that you regularly use pain relievers like Advil. It works best for me and it’s super easy for me to load up when I’m on my regular shopping trips at our local Walmart.
The fact that products like Advil and Nexium now have EZ open caps makes them the perfect solution for people struggling with arthritis. Of course be sure to ask a doctor before using any medication if you have a history of stomach problems, such as heartburn!
For more tips and tricks about how to make living with arthritis a little bit easier, check out this Better Living Toolkit created by the Arthritis Foundation.