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Coping with arthritis

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

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Arthritis is not a life-threatening disease. However, many individuals involved with agriculture are impacted by it daily.

At this time, there is no cure for arthritis, but you can take steps to help prevent permanent damage to joints and manage/minimize pain while doing work around the farm and your house.

The most effective way to protect a joint is by strengthening the joint through exercise.

Proper exercise can extend the life and usefulness of joints by strengthening motion.

Many individuals do not want to take the time to exercise.

However, it is an important item to be included in your daily routine.

Daily exercises that you should consider doing include stretching, lifting weights (i.e., light hand weights), walking, bicycling and swimming.

Generally, individuals will wake up with stiff joints that will eventually loosen up as the day goes by.

Thus, it is ideal that you exercise in the morning.

Once you have exercised, take a few minutes to prioritize your daily tasks.

You should start your day with your less strenuous jobs and do your more strenuous tasks once your muscles and joints have loosened up later in the day.

If you really don't have time to exercise or prioritize your daily events to manage/minimize the pain associated with arthritis, then you might think about making a few adjustments around the farm to make things easier on you.

Some changes you can make, which should help control joint pain, include:

* Adding extra steps to minimize reach (i.e., additional step on the tractor),

* Spinner knob for steering wheels for better grip and ease in operation,

* Improved livestock handling facility (i.e., adding a wheel on a gate to make it easier to open and close),

* Ergonomically designed lightweight tools with long handles,

* Handle wraps to improve grip,

* Extra mirrors on tractors,

* Arrange tools within reach,

* Gel-filled knee pads,

* Swivel mounts for seats,

* Joint wraps and braces, and

* Carrying livestock feed on a two-wheel cart.

As always, if you have any questions or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture, or natural resource topic then please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay County or 812-829-5020 in Owen County, or reach me directly at smith535@purdue.edu.

Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

* Sept. 2-8 -- Going Local Week,

* Sept. 8 -- Nature Day, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Clay County Fairgrounds,

* Sept. 8 -- Harrison County Cattlemen's Association: Field Day 2012, 9 a.m.-3:10 p.m., Laconia, Ind. Cost is $15 (plus $10 for PARP credit). Call 812-738-4236 to register,

* Sept. 11 -- Owen County Ag. Advisory Board, 6 p.m., Owen County Extension Office,

* Sept. 13 -- Ag Outlook Meeting, 8:30 a.m., Clay County Extension Office, and

* Sept. 13 -- Clay County Ag Advisory Board, 6 p.m., Clay County Extension Office.



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