Millions of adults suffer from arthritis and many of those individuals are seniors who rely on Medicare benefits for their healthcare coverage. If you are concerned about stiffness or pain in your joints, call your doctor. If your primary healthcare provider thinks that you have either Osteoarthritis (OA) or Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), you can be referred to a medical specialist for arthritis treatment.
Medicare Part B helps with the cost of specialized arthritis treatment and Medicare Part D may be able to help with the cost of medications. However, you will likely still need to pay for a portion of your arthritis care. Through coinsurance or copayments. You may have more options beyond Part A and Part B benefits with a Medicare Advantage Plan.
How arthritis can affect your health
While there are over 100 ways that arthritis can impact the human body, the two most common forms of the disease are Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). General symptoms of OA are pain and swelling in the body’s joints that are caused by the erosion of protective and connective tissue. The hands, knees, and hips are the areas where OA occurs the most. RA is an autoimmune disease with no known cause but it occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the healthy cells and causes joints to become swollen, stiff, and tender.
How activities may help ease arthritis pain
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends low-impact, joint-friendly activities for individuals with arthritis. Always talk with your healthcare provider before beginning any new activity to ensure that the activity is good for your personal health situation.
Physical activity reduces the risk of injuries or further damage to arthritic joints, reduces the stress on load-bearing joints, increases the range of motion in arthritic joints, and helps with weight management. There is no locked-in-concrete amount of activity that a person must meet to obtain a better quality of life. But, making physically safe activity plans that work with your personal age, ability, and symptoms are more beneficial than no activity at all. Physical activity is a positive, drug-free method to help ease arthritis pain.
Because of the pain and stiffness associated with this disease, many people shy away from the type of activities that can actually help to ease arthritis pain and stiffness. The beneficial activities that can help to ease stiffness and pain often depend on the type of arthritis that you have.
Arthritis is a life-long condition, so it may be worth your time and money to consider enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan that offers memberships to fitness centers, gyms, swim clubs, or exercise classes that cater to specific physical activities for people with arthritis. There are video exercise programs that you can do at home if you are disabled and cannot get to an outside location.
Activities that help with arthritis
Select low-impact activities that will not increase the stress on arthritis joints. Begin new activities slowly and gradually increase the amount of time as your body adjusts to the new routine. This is especially important for anyone with balance or stability issues. Start with a few minutes every day and add a few more minutes after your body is comfortable with the activity. Take the time to warm up before and to cool down after any activity by stretching your joints. Be sure to wear a pair of good quality, shock-absorbing shoes when exercising.
Reduce your level of activity on those days when your pain level, swelling, and stiffness may be stronger than other days. The goal of physical activity is to ease your symptoms and not to make them worse. Listen to your body and adjust your schedule to remain as active as possible without doing any harm.
The types of low-impact activities to consider for at-home or in-class participation include:
–Walking in a class environment or on level pavements. This can be done with or without a cane or a walker.
–Aerobics can be done at home or at a fitness center. If you are not able to get out of the house you can work along with a website aerobics program.
–Swimming and water aerobics help to maintain or regain muscle strength. These are heart-healthy activities and are easy on all body joints.
–Exercising with a group at a local fitness center or gym in a class designed to help ease arthritis pain. There are website exercise programs that can be done at home that are designed to increase muscle strength and range of motion in joints for anyone using a wheelchair.
–Exercising with stretch bands improves the range of motion in shoulders, arms, and legs. Stretch bands can be used at home or at a fitness center.
–Use doctor-recommended handgrips and small weights for exercises to improve finger, hand, and wrist movements.
While there is currently no cure for arthritis, there are activities that you can do to help ease the pain and suffering associated with the disease. When you follow your doctor’s guidance and are able to participate in physically appropriate activities, you can achieve your personal health goals and have a positive lifestyle.