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Articles > Words of wisdom from my rheumatologist: "Pace yourself. You're not a superhero!"

Words of wisdom from my rheumatologist: "Pace yourself. You're not a superhero!"

Diana Bierman

Provided by HealthMonitor

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PATIENT:
Denise LaDelia
DIAGNOSIS:
Psoriatic arthritis
RESIDENCE:
Rochester, NY

HOW IT HELPS ME
'I go easy on my joints by finding ways to work smarter, not harder. I make a point to spread household chores around'maybe fold laundry one day, vacuum another. On a "good day," I'll double or triple a freezable recipe and store the extra for fast, microwavable meals later on. Most important, I've learned to delegate, teaching my daughter to pick up her own toys, make her bed and help clean up after dinner. I also don't skimp on sleep; I'm pretty religious about getting those eight hours. It's all about knowing and respecting your body'listening for those first warning signs, and sitting and slowing down, before you overdo it. The world won't end if you go to bed with dishes in the sink!'

RHEUMATOLOGIST: Christopher Ritchlin, MD, MPH, professor of medicine at University of Rochester Medical Center, NY

WHY IT WORKS
'Even though you might feel guilty bowing out of an activity here and there, it's important that people with arthritis listen to their bodies. When joints are swollen and aching, there's so much more than discomfort to worry about'it's actually a signal that joint-damaging inflammation is occurring beneath the skin. That's something we can't undo'but we can minimize it with today's medicines. So the name of the game is avoiding inflammation in the first place. In addition to treatment, that means making the most of your good days and treating your body more tenderly on tough ones. If you want to age successfully, it's important to preserve healthy bone and joint tissue as long as you can."

3 ways to find your perfect pace
1. KEEP A DIARY. For two weeks, record your daily symptoms, activities and what tasks you had trouble doing.

2. SHOW IT TO YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER. It may reveal the root of your problem. For example, you may need to change the timing of your pain meds.

3. TAP A MOVEMENT EXPERT. Ask for a referral to an occupational therapist who can give tips on how to perform tasks without pain.
Osteoarthritis Anxiety Pain Worry Arthritis Inflammation Swelling

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