Arthritis Awareness Month: Keys to Prevention and Pain Management

May is Arthritis Awareness Month, and this year’s campaign theme is “What inspires you on your arthritis journey?” The focus is on what motivates people to push through their tough days dealing with the pain and limitations of the disease in hopes of inspiring others. Arthritis affects over 50 million American adults. It is a chronic condition that causes inflammation and joint pain, leading to stiffness, swelling, and loss of mobility. While there is no cure for Arthritis, several keys to prevention and discomfort management can help individuals live more comfortably and maintain their quality of life.

The Most Common Types of Arthritis

Another goal of Arthritis Awareness Month is to remind individuals with the condition that they are not alone. Believe it or not, there are more than 100 kinds of Arthritis and related conditions that millions of people endure. Here are a few of the more prominent types:

Osteoarthritis (OA)

Also known as degenerative joint disease, OA is the most common form of Arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage that normally cushions the joints breaks down, leading to pain, stiffness, and limited mobility.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

This autoimmune disease causes the body’s immune system to attack the lining of the joints, affecting hands, knees, or ankles and usually the joints on either side of the body. It can also affect your eyes, heart, and circulatory system.

Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

This is an inflammatory arthritis that affects an estimated 1.5 million people in the United States. PsA is a condition that develops in some people with psoriasis, a skin condition characterized by red, scaly patches.


Gout is a type of inflammatory Arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in the joints, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. It usually affects the big toe but can also affect other joints.


The symptoms include widespread and constant muscle pain, fatigue, and tender points on the body. Although not technically a form of arthritis, fibromyalgia can cause joint pain and stiffness and affects more women than men.

a woman seeing a doctor discussing leg pain

Prevention Works Better Than Treatment

A key objective of Arthritis Awareness Month is to teach people about preventing the condition. While Arthritis is often considered an inevitable part of aging, several ways exist to prevent or reduce the risk of developing it. Some of the key prevention strategies include:

  • Regular Exercise – Regular exercise can help preserve joint mobility and strength.
  • Quit Smoking – Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis.
  • Maintain Weight – Excess weight stresses joints, particularly in the hips, knees, and ankles.
  • Balanced Diet – A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation and promote joint health.

man seated massaging his painful hand

Coping With the Aches and Pains

For those with Arthritis, discomfort management is crucial to sustaining your quality of life. Where there are no cures, there are some effective strategies for managing pain and discomfort, including:

Stretching and Exercise: Gentle stretching and exercise can help maintain joint mobility and reduce stiffness.

Heat and cold therapy: Applying heat or cold packs to affected joints can help reduce pain and inflammation.

Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help manage pain and inflammation.

Assistive Devices: Canes, walkers, or braces can help reduce joint strain and alleviate some discomfort.

Massage: Light massage may increase blood flow and warm the affected muscle areas.

Arthritis Awareness Month: Providing Knowledge that Offers Comfort

By incorporating prevention and management strategies into your daily life, individuals with Arthritis can reduce their risk of developing complications. Additionally, seeking advice and treatment from a healthcare provider such as Harmony Healthcare Long Island will help maintain your quality of life.

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