Dr. Arthritis Asks: Do You Experience Fatigue Because Of Your Arthritis?

Arthritis and Fatigue

Fatigue is an ever-present and persistent challenge when you have arthritis. While it can sometimes be caused by inflammation, arthritis disease activity or pain; it can also be caused by other contributing factors such as limited physical inactivity, sleep disruptions, depression, or weight changes.

Recognizing the possible causes of your fatigue is important as this will be critical to you regaining your vigor and managing your fatigue better, despite your illness. 

Here are some possible causes–

Medication Side Effects

Medications, including those that you may be taking for your arthritis are known to cause drowsiness and fatigue. Some DMARDs such as azathioprine and methotrexate, NSAIDs, blood pressure medication, and narcotic pain relievers are common culprits. Corticosteroids also contribute to fatigue because it tends to keep you up at night.

Limited Activity

Pain is a common symptom for arthritis patients. As a result, arthritis sufferers tend to hold back from physical activity. The more inactive you are however, the more overwhelming the feeling of exhaustion becomes. Unused muscles, including the heart muscle, can weaken, leading to you getting tired faster.

Anemia

Statistics say that up to two-thirds of arthritis sufferers also have a condition called anemia of chronic disease—which is caused by inflammatory chemicals interfering with the body’s natural production of red blood cells. A shortage of red blood cells can cause muscles to get tired easily, which leads to fatigue.

Lack of Sleep

Sleep is a challenge for many arthritis sufferers. The discomfort of swollen and stiff joints, chronic pain, and medication side effects tends to interfere with your ability to get restful and refreshing sleep. Sometimes, it can lead to insomnia that leads to fatigue.

Obesity

A combination of lack of physical activity and medication side effects often lead to weight gain and additional weight problems. This can sometimes contribute to fatigue.

Poor Nutrition

When you’re not getting enough healthy food and fluids, your body could experience vitamin deficiency and dehydration, which could manifest as fatigue.

Depression

Arthritis can take you away from doing a lot of things that you used to love. Additionally, the stress of dealing with a chronic illness can affect your hormones and brain activity that could lead to depression. One of the most telling signs of depression is fatigue.

 

Fatigue caused by arthritis can be unpredictable. It can start any time of the day, can sometimes last from the moment you wake up to when you end the night, an hour, or even for several days. When it does, you feel an extreme, sometimes overwhelming feeling of physical and mental tiredness—one that can’t be remedied by getting more rest or sleep.

A combination of lifestyle changes and medication can help you manage your fatigue better.

Medication

Anemia Medications

If your fatigue is being caused by anemia, additional iron supplements may help improve the symptoms of fatigue.

Sleep Aids

Sleeping pills could help promote better and more restful sleep, particularly if your fatigue is being caused by depression or insomnia. Talk to a trusted physician about what possible medications are available for you.

Vitamins

If your fatigue is caused by a poor diet, it’s likely that your fatigue is caused a vitamin deficiency. Speak to your doctor about it—they may be able to prescribe vitamins or supplements to help fill in nutritional gaps and boost your overall wellness and give you a boost of energy.

Psychoactive Medications

Talk to your doctor if you could potentially benefit from medications that are meant to increase energy.

 

Lifestyle Changes

Incorporate More Exercise In Your Daily Routine

Exercise can help build muscle mass, boost strength, improve blood circulation and flexibility—all of which are known to boost energy and minimize pain symptoms.

Drink Water Regularly

Dehydration is an often overlooked cause of fatigue. Be sure to get your fill of fluids daily.

Eat Better

Your body requires nourishment. Add plenty of fruits and greens in your diet and get adequate protein and healthy fats. Avoid sugary and high salt foods and start your day with meals that include lots of lean protein and complex carbohydrates to serve as a source of energy.

Meditate

If anxiety or depression is causing your fatigue, try meditation to help reduce stress and calm your thoughts.

Support Your Joints

Wearing joint supports (such as elbow supports and knee supports) and using tools when necessary can help ease the stress on your joints as well as ease the pain associated with your illness, thus helping with fatigue.

Take Breaks When You Need It

It’s important to remain active, but listen to your body and rest when you need it. Rest allows your muscles to recover and refuel for more activity.

 

Do you experience fatigue because of your arthritis? We’d love to hear from you. Join the conversation on our Instagram or Facebook or leave a comment below.

Dr. Arthritis Asks: Do You Take Supplements To Help Manage Your Arthritis?

We try our hardest to manage our chronic pain through various ways. We eat healthy, manage our weight, exercise regularly, we use tools and aids to support our joints if necessary (such as knee support or elbow support), even seek out support groups who can help guide us through the mental and emotional challenges that come with living with arthritis.

Where do supplements fall in this spectrum of the arthritis sufferer’s dos and don’ts?

Trusted and reliable supplements have shown a lot of promise in terms of helping arthritis sufferers manage their pain, stiffness, and other common symptoms. When used in conjunction with traditional medicine and treatments, it has proven to be especially effective, with a lot of anecdotal support shared by arthritis patients.

If you’re looking to include joint supplements into your daily regimen, it’s best to understand what some of the most popular ingredients can do to help manage your joints, and how it helps control common arthritis symptoms. As always, before you start, please be sure to run it by your physician who can give you more information and also carefully monitor its effects on your body.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Glucosamine and chondroitin are the two components that make up cartilage—the tissue that cushions your joints. These components are naturally produced by our bodies but are also available as supplements and are popular ingredients for many joint supplements.

Natural glucosamine levels tend to drop as we age, so taking a joint supplement designed to replenish it may be able to help keep the cartilage in our joints healthy, and could even have an anti-inflammatory effect. Chondroitin on the other hand has been known to help lower pain and boost joint mobility, thus helping arthritic patients minimize the need to take painkillers.

Collagen

A lot of anecdotal evidence supports the efficacy of collagen for joints. As one of the main proteins of cartilage, collagen could potentially improve symptoms of osteoarthritis by helping your body produce more joint collagen.

Vitamin D

Increasing your Vitamin D intake has been known to help arthritis symptoms, especially for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. Vitamin D aids your body’s ability to absorb calcium, which is critical to building strong bones. Too little vitamin D can cause you to have soft and brittle bones, affect your mood, and even cause chronic aches and pains.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a known antioxidant that helps fight joint inflammation. It also supports collagen synthesis, which is the main protein in bone and joint tissue. There’s also evidence of vitamin C working to control inflammation caused by infection, which has been known to trigger arthritis flares.

Turmeric

Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties and may alleviate arthritis inflammation and pain. It’s a good source of antioxidants that has numerous health benefits, especially for arthritis sufferers.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is also found in the joints, where it keeps the space between your bones lubricated. When joints are well lubricated, it helps reduce and relieve inflammation caused by the wear and tear of cartilage and bone in worn joints.

Boswellia Extract

Boswelia extract has been said to reduce inflammation and acts as an analgesic that may help manage pain symptoms, minimize inflammation, and prevent cartilage loss.

Goji Extract

Foods with high levels of antioxidants such as Goji berries can help fight free radicals and produce an anti-inflammatory enzyme that can reduce inflammation and pain.

Black Pepper Extract

Black pepper is a common household spice that has been known to reduce inflammation and minimize joint pain and swelling.

As we age, we will inevitably experience wear and tear on our joints. That’s not even counting the symptoms of chronic autoimmune conditions that affect our joints such as rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis. A combination of lifestyle changes, opting for a healthy diet, and choosing the right vitamins and supplements can make a real difference.

Again, because supplements could interact with your current medications, be sure to speak to your physician. And if you have any questions, leave them in the comment section below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

 

The Best Compression Gloves For Arthritis

arthritis compression for pain doctor arthritis

For anyone who often experiences painfully stiff and swollen joints on your hands due to arthritis, carpal tunnel or even Raynaud’s syndrome compression gloves can make living with these conditions easier.

Arthritis is one of the most common disabilities and causes of pain across the world, with approximately more than 40 million people in the U.S. alone suffering from this condition. While there are numerous treatment options available, compression gloves are one of the most effective, accessible, and affordable ways to help navigating day to day activities less painful. So while they’re not a cure, they are a great complementary addition to your current medical treatment.

Commonly referred to as arthritis gloves, compression gloves help ease the pain and symptoms associated with arthritis and other similar chronic inflammatory conditions. Moreover, carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injuries can also benefit from wearing compression gloves. Keep on reading to learn how you can choose the best pair of compression gloves that suit your needs and lifestyle.

How can compression gloves help ease pain and joint stiffness?

Compression gloves can help alleviate swelling, discomfort, and stiffness in the joints of your hands in two ways–

First, it can provide warmth and promote overall comfort for your joints; and second, the compressive properties can effectively reduce swelling and joint stiffness by facilitating better blood circulation on top of providing joint support for day-to-day activities. While compression gloves aren’t a replacement for the medical treatment administered by your doctor, they are one of the best non-invasive tools that you can add to your treatment program. However, to make sure you reap all the benefits of your compression gloves, be sure to choose a pair that fits the best. For more details on how compression gloves work check out our in depth blog post here.

What are the benefits of wearing compression gloves?

Wearing compression gloves can help ease the symptoms of painful flare ups associated with joint conditions. Below are some of the benefits worth noting:

  • Pain relief: The compressive properties of arthritis gloves are great at relieving aches, pains, and stiffness associated with arthritis of the hands.
  • Improve circulation: Compression can help improve blood circulation, which in turn can help reduce swelling. Additionally, the warmth created by the compression gloves can help soothe stiff and inflamed joints.
  • Improve mobility: Compression can help reduce swelling in the fingers significantly and allow greater joint flexibility.
  • Support joints: Compression gloves that are made with thicker material are an effective way to stabilize and protect the joints in your finger.

How can I find the best pair of compression gloves that are right for me?

When choosing a pair of compression gloves, you need to put your lifestyle and habits into consideration. No matter what kind of compression glove you end up choosing however, remember that have to wear them for eight hours straight to get the best results.

With so many compression gloves to choose from, selecting the best compression glove can be overwhelming. To help you narrow down your search, we’ve shortlisted some popular types of compression gloves and outlined their specific benefits and limitations.

Fingerless compression gloves

Best to wear during the day, fingerless compression gloves are great for when you need full range of motion or need to retain a firm grip and use your sense of touch for daily activities and chores. Fingerless compression gloves are also convenient for those who need to type a lot. The downside is that fingerless compression gloves don’t offer as much support compared to full-finger gloves.

Copper compression gloves

Copper infused compression gloves have the extra benefit of providing anti-microbial benefits along with the functionality of a traditional pair of compression gloves. Copper compression gloves are best suited for those who need to improve blood flow and circulation in their hands and fingers to relieve painfully sore and inflamed joints, while having to wear the gloves throughout the day.

Compression gloves with splints

Ideal for people who have weaker hands or fingers, compression gloves with splints are great for providing support, prevent injury and ease pain. The extra support can protect your joints and keep you from sustaining further injury that can exacerbate pain caused by arthritis. However, gloves with splints are not ideal for those who need a high level of mobility in their hands and fingers.

If you are suffering from painful symptoms caused by arthritis or similar conditions that affect your hands such as Raynaud’s syndrome or carpal tunnel, Doctor Arthritis offers a selection of compression gloves designed by doctors and made with the best materials available. Whether you are looking for a pair of full-fingered or fingerless compression gloves, you are guaranteed to find a pair that suits your needs and lifestyle. Shop Dr. Arthritis compression gloves and wrist support today.

The Best Arthritis Gloves to Relieve Painful Flares

arthritis-and-pain-connection

There are more than 100 types of arthritis with the most commonly known ones being rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. While each kind of arthritis can present with different symptoms, all types can affect the hands. Arthritis in the hand can cause pain and stiffness that limits your ability to get on with simple day to day tasks, and over time, the possibility of losing mobility of your hand is also high. This is where arthritis gloves come in, many health professionals who treat arthritis will recommend these specialized gloves to help with symptoms. Since they are a great medical accessory that can go hand in hand with your medical treatment, arthritis gloves can help alleviate pain and gain better use of your hands, while even improving the range of motions for your fingers.

Whether you’re looking for a pair of gloves that can help reduce the pain in your hands caused by arthritis or conditions with similar symptoms that can affect your hand mobility, read on to discover how specialized gloves can help with arthritis and similar conditions, and which kind of gloves are the best pair of gloves for your needs.

How can arthritis gloves help ease pain and joint stiffness?

Arthritis gloves help alleviate pain and muscle aches by applying compression, providing support to the affected area by reducing swelling and stiffness. Especially in the finger joints to relieve pain on top of maintaining warmth and increasing blood flow to the hands and fingers.

In addition to providing pain relief for arthritis-related symptoms, arthritis gloves are also amazing for improving soft-tissue or sports-related injuries due to their compression properties. While they aren’t a cure for hand and finger mobility, they can improve your grip which makes navigating daily tasks easier when you experience a flare up. However, do keep in mind that these gloves are usually designed to be worn for at least 8 hours, so wearing them for 30 minutes to an hour here and there won’t help.

What are the improvements I can experience from wearing arthritis gloves?

  • The compression effect of arthritis gloves can reduce swelling and help with puffy fingers.
  • The warmth and compression properties of the gloves can alleviate Joint stiffness and pain by increasing the circulation in your hands and fingers.
  • Gloves designed to alleviate pain caused by arthritis and similar conditions can also aid in helping improve your grip when you’re experiencing joint swelling or stiffness in your fingers.

Keep in mind that technically all arthritis gloves have compression properties that can help with relieving pain, but some are more effective than others.  However, depending on the severity of your arthritis symptoms, choosing the best pair of gloves that suit your lifestyle will help target and relieve your arthritis symptoms you’ve been experiencing more effectively. You can find gloves on the market with the following features individually or combined together.

  • Splints for extra support
  • Compression properties to help ease pain and increase blood circulation
  • Heated to reduce inflammation caused by swelling and stiffness
  • Copper-infused to help combat joint inflammation

How can I find the right pair of arthritis gloves that are right for me?

Like any medical treatments, arthritis gloves aren’t a one size fits all solution. However, it doesn’t hurt to invest in a pair to see if they provide any relief. Buying a pair of gloves to ease arthritis flare ups on your hands is kind of like finding a pair of shoes that fit just right, you need to shop around to find features that work best for you and your lifestyle habits. We’ve provided some guidelines below to make your search for the perfect pair of gloves easier:

  • Fit: Look for a pair of gloves that fit just right or are adjustable, or else the compression properties won’t work properly if the fit isn’t right.
  • Fabric: Remember when we said wearing your arthritis gloves for a few hours here and there won’t make much of a difference? Choose gloves with breathable fabric for optimum comfort, this ensures that you’ll actually want to wear them. Also, gloves with stiffer fabric have the tendency to limit your range of motion and may get in the way of your day-to-day activities.
  • Fingers: While there is nothing wrong with full-finger gloves, they may make gripping things a little more challenging. The good news is the majority of arthritis gloves are fingerless, which gives you the most freedom when you’re wearing them during the day.
  • Heat therapy: Gloves with heat features are great for soothing swollen and inflamed joints on your fingers.

Here at Doctor Arthritis, we offer a comprehensive selection of premium quality arthritis and compression gloves designed by doctors with first-hand experience in managing pain and inflammation associated with arthritis and similar conditions that affect the joints and mobility of the hands. Check out our range of arthritis and compression gloves today for a non-invasive solution that can go hand in hand with your medical treatment!

 

Dr. Arthritis Shares: 5 Things People Who Suffer From Chronic Pain Don’t Want To Hear

For a lot of arthritis sufferers, chronic pain is a way of life. And while we look functional and mobile to the outside world, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. For instance, we know as chronic pain sufferers know that life doesn’t stop because our joints hurt, or because we feel intense fatigue. We’re still expected to go to work and honor social engagements—and we often go through extraordinary lengths to be OK for the people around us.

We’re also often subject to a lot of unwarranted comments about how we’re handling our health. Most mean well, but there are instances where these words can be unintentionally cold and hurtful. So if you’re reading this and have someone in your life who suffers from arthritis or chronic illness, take note of these top things that you should never say to someone living with chronic pain.

 

1. “But you don’t look sick…”

There is a lot of effort that goes into NOT looking like we’re sick. For many, it takes all their strength just so they can show up to their class or their jobs as if they’re ok. The comment may be well-meaning, but it just reminds us of the fact that we are in fact sick. It also makes us feel like the only way we can validate our condition is to actually look like we’re sick—and the last thing chronic pain sufferers want to do is to have to prove to the world that we are indeed in pain.

What you can say instead–

“I’m sorry that you’re going through this. Let me know what I can do to help.”

“I understand that you’re in pain—whether I can see it or not.”

 

2. “Just stay positive!”

Constantly telling us to stay positive in spite of what we’re going through denies any and all experiences we’re presently going through with our illness—particularly the very valid feelings of pain that we are experiencing now. Ignoring the physical, emotional, mental challenges of our illness by telling us that we can solve it by thinking positive or that it could be worse makes us feel like our experience isn’t credible and valid. Managing chronic pain every day can be very overwhelming. Don’t gloss over it.

What you can say instead–

“I’m so sorry you’re having a hard time with your illness.”

“What can I do to support you through this?”

“It’s OK not to be OK sometimes.”

 

3. “You’re always in pain or feeling tired.”

Unfortunately, always being in pain and feeling tired is the baseline for most people living with chronic pain. Rest assured, none of us chooses to feel this way. If we had a choice between going out for a nightcap after work with friends versus heading home to curl up into a ball of joint pain and exhaustion, we would choose the former. Unfortunately, days when we don’t feel tired or in pain are rare, few and far between. And any time we’re told “you’re always in pain or feeling tired”, we’re just reminded of our limitations and challenges. It’s not reassuring or encouraging in any way.

What you can say instead–

“You’re handling your condition pretty well.”

“Is there anything I can do to make things easier for you today?”

 

4. “A friend of mine/ family member had the same thing—they’re OK now.”

We know this is meant to be uplifting and encouraging, but everybody is different. While we may all suffer from the same illness, arthritis impacts people very differently. What might work for one, may not for another. Even our medications vary so much from one person to the next.

What you can say instead–

“I appreciate you sharing your personal experience with this illness with me.”

 

5. “But you’re too young to have arthritis”

We feel this more than you can possibly imagine—especially since arthritis is a condition that doesn’t just affect the elderly, as most assume. With our condition, you can be 25 and feel like your joints are 90 years old. So yes, we know we are indeed too young to have arthritis. But illness isn’t exclusive to old age. Fact is, there are more and more people who are getting diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis earlier in their lifetime.

What you can say instead–

“I’m here for you. Let me know what I can do.”