Arthritis pain: Do's and don'ts

Will physical activity reduce or increase your arthritis pain? Get tips on exercise and other common concerns when coping with arthritis symptoms and arthritis pain. By Mayo Clinic Staff

You get all kinds of advice about exercise, medication and stress reduction, but how do you know what will work best for you? Here are some do's and don'ts to help you figure it out.

Basics

Whatever your condition, you'll have an easier time staying ahead of your pain if you:

  • Talk to your doctor about all your symptoms, arthritis related or not. Sometimes seemingly unrelated problems are, in fact, connected.
  • Give your doctor complete information about all your medical conditions, not just arthritis.
  • Ask your doctor for a clear definition of the type of arthritis you have.
  • Find out whether any of your joints are already damaged.

Everyday routines

Do some gentle exercise in the evening; you'll feel less stiff in the morning. When you're technically doing nothing — watching TV or sitting at your desk, for instance — be sure to:

  • Adjust your position frequently.
  • Periodically tilt your neck from side to side, change the position of your hands, and bend and stretch your legs.
  • Pace yourself. Take breaks so that you don't overuse a joint and cause more pain.
Aug. 13, 2011 See more In-depth