Learning to live with pain and limitations is tough; arthritis is a heart-breaker. But the best approach isn’t surrendering to the circumstances and filling yourself with medicine, it’s learning about the best things that you can do for yourself! Start with the following advice.

1. Address symptoms immediately. At the first sign of joint pain, or other aches and pains that feel intense and severe, see your doctor. An early diagnosis is important for beginning treatment and preventing damage. It also benefits you to know exactly what is going on with your body and why you are experiencing pain.

2. Protect your joints. Manage your weight so that it does not become a burden for your body, avoid high-impact exercises that pound joints and stop doing anything else that may be damaging. Joints can easily become inflamed and painful, and every time this occurs, friction can erode cartilage and other vital components of movement.

3. Stay active. Strengthening and conditioning your body all over will help ease the pressure off the more painful parts. Practice specific, low-impact routines that work to improve your flexibility and are designed just for people suffering with arthritis symptoms. Walking and swimming, for example, are excellent ways of generating strength without the grinding impact on joints.

4. Eat the right foods. What you eat can have a significant impact on your arthritis. Have an orange or glass of orange juice every day, and make arthritis-helping foods like fish, nuts, fruits and vegetables a staple in your diet. Certain foods have been shown to reduce inflammation, while others will aggravate the situation, so check with your doctor or other trusted source of information for a complete list of what you should be eating or avoiding.

5. Relax and enjoy. Try sitting down to your favorite music everyday for about an hour. Scientific studies have shown that enjoying classical music daily can minimize pain, reduce the depression associated with a chronic condition and ease tensions away. This practice of zoning out to eloquent music is actually a form of medicine, and you should take it seriously.

6. A warm bath before bedtime. Unraveling the stress that builds up in your body throughout the day with warm soothing water is a great way to prep for bed. A good night sleep is essential to your arthritic well-being and precluding slumber with tension-easing tub time should see you sleeping like a baby. Your joints and muscles all benefit from the warm water therapy; make sure your bathroom is safe for someone who experiences sudden and sharp pains though, and that it is easily navigable.

7. Ask for or hire help around the home. When it comes to heavy work, you should definitely be seeking a source of help. Obviously, you are not an invalid who cannot participate in life around you or work toward maintaining your home, but getting a hand with activities which worsen symptoms or even threaten injury is crucial to your well-being. Don’t take on too much by yourself, period.

Learning to live with arthritis while still making the most of everything requires that you understand the condition and what to do about it. Don’t look at yourself like a victim; be proactive and take good care, and you can overcome the challenges you face.