As the countdown to the festive period begins, spare a thought for family and friends who have arthritis and for whom Christmas can be – quite literally – a pain.
Arthritis causes inflammation in the joints, pain and loss of mobility. Unfortunately, many of the things that we all love about Christmas are many of the same things that can exacerbate arthritis symptoms.
So, if you are planning to spend the festive season with someone who suffers from arthritis, here are some tips on how you can ensure that all of you enjoy the celebrations and keep the worst of the symptoms at bay…
1. Avoid foods that can trigger joint pain
We tend to each lots of rich, fatty foods over the festive season which can exacerbate arthritis symptoms. Advising people with arthritis to avoid certain foods, or eat them in moderation, may help to prevent a flare-up.
In particular, they should be careful of sugar and refined carbs as these produce AGE (advanced glycation end) products in the body which can create inflammation and increase joint stiffness. Fried and processed foods also increase inflammation.
Try getting them to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, tofu, beans, lentils and quinoa. Also, people with arthritis should avoid too many dairy products as they contain a protein that can irritate the joint linings. Cut out preservatives if possible, which are used in a lot of ready-prepared meals.
2. Don’t expect too much of them
At this time of year, it can be frustrating for people with chronic conditions like arthritis that cause pain and loss of mobility. As much as they may want to participate in the fun and games, winter walks and socialising, sometimes the pain they are experiencing makes it impossible. Try to be patient and explain to young children why the person may not be able to join in with all of the festive fun.
3. Find out about their condition
Arthritis can make people feel isolated and it can also lead to depression as it has a detrimental impact on quality of life. Reading blogs like this and finding out a bit about your loved one’s condition can help them to feel less isolated and can also increase your understanding of what they can and can’t do. Being willing to lend a sympathetic ear can also be beneficial.
4. Be prepared to change your plans if necessary
Arthritis symptoms are not always predictable and people may have good days and bad days. If your loved one is feeling particularly unwell it can be helpful to make contingency plans so they are not struggling to participate when it would be better for them to rest.
5. Don’t interfere
All of us need to feel that we are in control of our own lives and able to make our own choices. If someone has arthritis, they will normally know how best to manage their condition. While it can be helpful to offer support and suggestions, it is not helpful to tell them what to do or to tell them they can’t participate if they want to. It can be a tricky balance to strike but it is worth spending time trying to get it right so all of you can have a happy Christmas.
If someone you love is experiencing arthritis symptoms, encourage them to seek medical help as soon as possible as there are non-surgical and surgical treatments that can make a difference to their quality of life. In severe cases, joint replacement surgery can offer someone a new lease of life.
A patient recently wrote a review of the treatment they received from us which said:
“In April you did my hip replacement surgery and I wanted to thank you so much for doing such a great job. I am now completely pain-free and free to live my busy life.”
Arthritis Diagnosis & Treatment | London
Mr Vivek Gulati is an experienced orthopaedic consultant helping many patients with finding effective ways to manage and treat their arthritis. Diagnosis is the first step.
For your appointment there is a choice of locations:
The London Clinic – 116 Harley Street, London, W1G 7JL, Directions
BMI The London Independent Hospital, 1 Beaumont Square, Stepney Green, London, E1 4NL, Directions
Our Consultation Fees are clearly presented here.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your treatment options with a specialist, please contact the team.