Sorry that it took me until this late in the day to post my comments on the Helpbook, had a really slow day today. By the time this will be posted it will be Aug. 1 2012.
I still do not know what type of arthritis I have. I booked an appointment, just couldn't get one before today. As I was reading section one I thought that I may come to a little bit of understanding as to what type of Arthritis I have. I wasn't that lucky, all I still know is that it is an inflammatory arthritis. A person would think of Rheumatoid Arthritis right away when they hear inflammatory, but I was told all my tests for Rheumatoid Arthritis were negative.
One thing this First Section of the book has helped me is understanding what arthritis is and that it doesn't just come with age (I kind of had figured that one out seeing as to I'm young yet). I know there are over 100 different kinds of arthritis but so far not many are listed in the book, I will have to do some other research also to find the names and symptoms of the other types of arthritis that are not listed in section one.
One thing they do mention a lot for each type of arthritis is exercise. Now I know from experience that exercising when you are in tremendous pain isn't possible or at least a person doesn't have the energy to put themselves through even more pain. On days like that I just do what I need to do and leave the exercises for days when I feel better.
Weight-bearing exercise is mentioned that it is very, very important in maintaining strong bones. The body reacts to such exercise by increasing the calcium content and thus the strength of the bones. Walking is the best example they say. If at all possible, walk half a mile to a mile (1 to 1.5 km) a day.
For the longest time I haven't even been able to walk a block in town let alone a half mile. But now I'm in a good spurt again and am able to walk for an hour at a time. I am able to do yard work for a few hours at times also. So it is looking like I will be able to walk half a mile every day soon.
They do say that if that amount of walking is unrealistic for you, remember that even a little weight-bearing exercise is important. That is where what I have been doing comes in, I started off with the littlest thing and now am able to do a bit more. The book says just to do as much as you can. In my opinion it is better not to over do it. When you over do it then you damage more, according to how I understand my Dr. When he heard how much I was walking in the beginning and how much pain it was causing me. He told me to slow down, don't do as much as that, you don't have to create more pain it just causes more damage.
Suggestions on developing a walking program are in chapters 10 and 13 in the 5th Edition, and chapters 11 and 14 in the 6th Edition. The book says that recent research has shown that women need to walk 4 miles (6 km) a week to get maximal exercise benefit for osteoporosis prevention. And that includes all the walking people do in their daily lives.
(Swimming is not weight-bearing exercise.)
They do say that the most effective exercises seem to be swimming, walking, and bicycling which are easy, can be gradually increased, and are smooth rather than jerky. Now I lost the ability to ride a bicycle when the first really bad spurt of arthritis hit. I am unable to move my legs in a circular motion when strength is required and it is really painful. So I am not sure how I will work this into exercise at the moment, I am going to try riding a bike again on a good day to see if I am able to accomplish the circular motion with weight-bearing again.
Strengthening exercises, described in Chapter 12 in the 5th Edition, and Chapter 13 in the 6th Edition, can also be of help.
Exercise should be regular.
They do mention that drug therapy is just to control the discomfort. Chapter 20 in the 5th Edition, and Chapter 21 in the 6th Edition discuss medicines to reduce pain and inflammation. The reason that you may not be prescribed a pain killer with codeine or other strong pain relievers is because pain is a signal to the body that helps protect a diseased joint; it is important that the signals are received. Details on pain management are in Chapter 15 in the 5th Edition, and Chapter 16 in the 6th Edition.
Hope that this is some encouragement for others as it is to me.
Also to help everyone as it is helping me to keep positive.
Our lifestyles just have to change, what we do for recreation, more then likely has to change also.
It may "feel" like we have lost 20 years off of our lives but, it doesn't mean we have to let it take the 20 years away from us.
It is important to see how extremely important it is to keep moving even though our bodies don't want to.