So, what's the trick? How can a person with arthritis pain and the physical limitations that go with having the disease still stay involved in regular activies, especially their beloved hobbies? It's not a trick -- you have to be smart -- and here's how.
- Prepare mentally. Realize the importance of staying active. Know that, by staying active, you will reap many benefits, not the least of which is that you will feel better and have better quality of life. But it is your mindset towards staying active that will help you stick with your hobby, even when you may not feel like it.
- Prepare yourself physically. Put your joints through their full range of motion daily. This will help to reduce joint pain and joint stiffness, making you more able to enjoy time spent on your hobbies.
- Respect your limitations. Because of arthritis, you will have physical limitations. While you shouldn't let those limitations stop you from doing something you love to do -- you cannot ignore the limitations either. You will need to find ways to work with your limitations.
- Modify your activities. Hobbies require some of your time -- and it's possible that modifications and adjustments will need to be considered. If you normally would spend several hours on your hobby, possibly just reducing the time spent on it will allow you to continue -- just on a different time schedule or by consciously pacing your activities.
- Use adaptive equipment if available. There have been many assistive devices designed to help arthritis patients and others with physical limitations. Specially-designed garden tools, cooking and kitchen gadgets, and myriad other products make tasks easier. You will be surprised what is available if you check into adaptive equipment/assistive devices.
- Support your joints. Focus on which joint is causing the most pain and interfering when you spend time on your hobby. If it's you wrist, try a wrist support. Your knee or back? Try a knee support or back support to control osteoarthritis symptoms. Some additional support may help you manage activity more easily.
- Get a helper. If you recognize that certain aspects of your hobby are beyond your capabilities, ask for help. You will find that the person who is helping you is happy to do so, not burdened by your request.
- If you have tried everything listed above, but still can't continue your favorite hobby -- don't stop without considering alternatives. Don't give up your hobby without substituting another hobby in its place. Don't let there be a void. At various times, your hobby will serve as a distraction from arthritis, a diversion, a source of accomplishment and enjoyment.