Arthritis: Chores Made Easier
Doing daily activities and chores can be painful and tiring when you have arthritis. The good news is that there are many ways to help you keep doing your daily activities and chores without as much pain and fatigue.
Pay attention to your posture and position
Proper posture is important to help reduce pain. Start by using good posture to protect your neck, back, hips, and knees. If standing for long periods of time is painful, lean against a wall or put one foot up on a stool. Sit with your back straight to do work such as sorting and folding clothing. It also helps to sit on a high stool while you cook or wash dishes. Regularly stretch and relax, no matter what task you are doing. Reduce stress, stiffness, and tension by moving around.
Organize your work areas
Organize your work and storage areas so that often-used equipment and tools are kept within easy reach and at a comfortable level. The idea is to use as little effort as possible when you reach or bend to get them. Use a Lazy Susan or plastic bins to keep things close by. Keep all laundry supplies next to the washing machine, cleaning supplies in both the kitchen and the bathroom, and a pencil and paper by each phone.
Use your strongest joints and muscles to do your tasks
When lifting something that is low or on the ground, bend your knees and lift by straightening your legs. Do not use your back to lift. Use a device to reach things instead of bending to get something from the floor or cupboards. Use a cart to move heavy items from one place to another. Use a shoulder bag rather than a handbag. Push doors open with your shoulder or your hip, not with your hand. Check with an occupational therapist for other ways to use your body properly.
Use self-help devices
It’s important to use all of the things available to minimize pain and stress and accomplish tasks more easily. Self-help devices, sometimes called adaptive or assistive devices, can make everything from dressing to driving a lot easier. Self-help devices can help with:
· Gripping. Bigger handles on devices such as knives, pens, or toothbrushes can help. Use lightweight tools with built-up or extended handles for gardening and other yard work.
· Twisting, pinching, squeezing. Tools such as jar openers or buttonhooks can make tasks easier.
· Distributing weight. Equipment such as large-handled mugs and double-handled pans can help you hold and carry things.
· Reducing physical stress. Tools such as ergonomic chairs or keyboards can make your work less painful. Elastic shoelaces or Velcro closures can make it easier putting on footwear.
· Increasing your mobility. Aids such as canes, walkers, or swivel seats can make it easier and safer to get around.
See a healthcare provider to learn how to move your body with less joint stress so you will have less pain and more energy.
To learn more, call the Arthritis Society’s Arthritis Information Line at: 1-800-321-1433 or visit their Web site at www.arthritis.ca.
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