One of the biggest challenges about suffering from chronic pain like arthritis is that people around you just don’t get what you’re going through. It’s because of this that a lot arthritis sufferers tend to shut loved ones out and isolate themselves, leading to them having to deal with their challenges alone.
While it’s typical, it’s something that we here at Dr. Arthritis hopes to change. Arthritis may be difficult to grasp by those who don’t suffer through it themselves, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try. So in the spirit of Arthritis Awareness Month, there’s no better time than now to talk about what we can do raise awareness about a condition that affects millions—young and old alike.
1. Start an exercise program with friends
Exercising can be difficult when your joints are working against you, but if at all possible, incorporating some physical activity into your daily routine can really help keep your joints healthy.
Something simple and low-impact, like walking and other muscle strengthening exercises can do wonders for improving pain as well as range of motion. Invite friends and loved ones to join you on this. Not only can they provide support, you can also use this time to open up about what you’re going through.
2. Reach out to other arthritis sufferers
Time and again, we take the time to remind everyone in this community that they are not alone. Millions of people suffer from arthritis. If you find that your own immediate circle are unable to understand what you’re going through because they don’t have the disease, know that there others all over the world, from all age groups, living different lifestyles, that know exactly the pain and frustration you feel.
They know precisely what you feel when you get a flare up; they understand the exasperation you feel about how unpredictable arthritis is; they know the level of exhaustion you mean when you say you’re tired.
For starters, our community of blog readers and Facebook followers have shown so much support and understanding for fellow sufferers, but you can also visit this link from the Arthritis Foundation to discover other support groups.
3. Get involved
There are a lot of organizations and groups that support research to further new treatment and interventions for arthritis. Like a lot of other causes, your contribution, in any capacity—whether you’re donating time or money—can make a huge difference.
To get started, you can check out some of the major events happening in your local community or refer to this list of events from the Arthritis Foundation.
4. Learn more about your condition
Join communities, subscribe to blogs, do your research.
Learning more about arthritis can help you learn more about your condition and how to manage it. It can also help you understand what you’re going through, make you feel less alone, allow you to explain your symptoms better to your doctors to receive better treatment, and maybe even help you articulate what you’re going through to your friends and loved ones.