Osteoarthritis is by far the most common form of joint disease, afflicting people all over the world, including, according to Arthritis Research, eight million in the UK. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 27 million people in the US suffer from degenerative arthritis.
Erik Gall, MD, of the Arizona Arthritis Center, says anything that puts unhealthy stressors on joints can spark arthritis, adding: “People who are at risk of arthritis range from the not-so-surprising, like construction workers, to the unexpected, such as elite musicians.”
If your occupation puts you at risk of developing osteoarthritis, it may seem that, short of changing your job, there is little you can do to stay fit and healthy, but, while there is no cure for the condition, the symptoms and pain can generally be greatly relieved by common-sense measures in the workplace and basic health-awareness steps in everyday life, which may also help to keep you mobile.
People in the above ten jobs can all take basic measures to guard against or alleviate the effects of osteoarthritis. Arthritis Research UK stresses the importance of keeping joints moving and muscles strong. It says: “Generally, the stronger the muscles which support a joint, the less pain you’ll have in that joint.”
If a joint is badly inflamed, a short spell of rest can help to settle down the swelling, although it is also important not to rest the joints too much. If you neglect to use your joints at all, then you may develop excessive stiffness and loss of mobility. Use the arthritic joints a little, but make sure to refrain from the repetitive and strenuous activities that cause lasting pain.
Arthritis Research recommends putting your joints through a full range of motion at least once a day, to prevent stiffening: “Your body is designed to move, and not doing so is harmful to the tissues in and around the joints. Keeping active is also good for your cardiovascular system and for your general health and wellbeing.”
Healthy eating is another imperative for people with arthritis because being overweight puts extra strain on the joints. Keeping weight at a healthy level will reduce discomfort. Losing even just 20 pounds can lessen pain in the knees by 50 per cent. Arthritis Research advocates a balanced, low-fat diet with plenty of fruit, fiber, and vegetables while avoiding too much meat. In addition to maintaining a nutritious diet, doing exercises to strengthen your muscles and massaging painful joints, you might want to consider attending relaxation classes and trying complementary therapies such as aromatherapy or acupuncture.