Mornings are particularly difficult for those with arthritis, as many people find their symptoms to be worse after sleeping in a particular position for hours. If you have arthritis and dread mornings, all hope is not lost. There are some hacks you can try to make things easier. These are 13 of our favorites:
Plug in heated blankets.
Heat therapy is super beneficial for those with arthritis because it eases pain and improves flexibility. Many people like to use heated blankets when they are sitting down on the couch or lying in bed. You can also get a heated mattress pad for the bedroom as well. If moving objects from room to room strains your body, then get a blanket for each room where you want to use one so you don’t have to worry about carrying them.
Try more targeted heat therapy.
Sometimes, you need more targeted heat therapy than wrapping yourself up in a blanket. There are heated pads available for all types of body parts, including your neck and shoulders, back and knees. If you have one particular trouble area, consider getting a heating pad tailored to that body part. While you can also use rice bags, electric heating pads weigh less and don’t require frequent trips to the microwave in order to heat them up.
Take a hot shower.
If your body is super stiff in the morning, taking a hot or warm shower can help loosen everything up. In fact, a hot shower is great any time of day or night when you’re having a flare-up. Baths are okay, too, but showers are a safer option since you can stand upright the whole time. Just be careful not to turn the water up too hot so you don’t scald your skin.
Wear adaptive clothing.
Adaptive clothing is specifically designed to help those with limited physical mobility. Look for self-dressing garments, such as men’s elastic waist pants and women’s elastic waist pants, that you can easily slip into and out of yourself. Another great option is magnetic-closure items. Just because you have arthritis doesn’t mean that you must give up dressing yourself for good!
Use a dressing tool.
If you still have decent mobility in your hands and upper body, you might also be able to prolong the life of your regular wardrobe with a few hacks. Buttonhooks can help you close-up button-down shirts, while extra-long zipper pulls make it easier to deal with small zippers. These tools are especially good choices for those who work in formal offices and get dressed up often.
Move your clothes into a closet.
Yanking out heavy drawers and bending over to reach the lower drawers is often a no-go for those with arthritis. Instead, consider moving your clothes into a closet where everything can hang at eye level. For items like socks and underwear, you can get hanging cloth shelves to hold them so they will be at eye level, ready to access.
Swap out your shoes.
Shoes are very difficult to work with arthritis, especially designs with traditional laces. Try out different types of adaptive shoes, including slip-ons, Velcro® fasteners and zipper closures. If you have trouble bending over to put on the shoes, a long-handled shoehorn can help you slide the shoes on while remaining in an upright sitting position.
Soak your dishes.
Scrubbing dishes is time-consuming and fatiguing. Leave them to soak in water for a few hours or even overnight if they have a lot of food stuck to them. The water will soften and loosen any stuck-on bits, making it easy to knock them off without a lot of exhausting scrubbing. If you’re having an especially bad day, use disposable plates and utensils so you don’t have to worry about cleaning up.
Use a small wheeled cart.
Carrying things from room to room can be exhausting, especially if the items are heavy, such as books. Consider getting a small wheeled cart for each floor of your home so you can roll objects from room to room. Look for a cart with multiple tiers and only use the top ones so you don’t have to bend over as much.
Use padded grips.
Small objects, such as utensils and makeup brushes, are hard to grip with arthritic hands. Get some padded grips made of rubber or silicone that you can slide onto the handles. Not only will this make the handles wider and easier to grip, but the textured surface will also make them less slippery.
Drink out of a straw.
Arthritis in your jaw can make it difficult to drink out of a regular cup or to eat food. Drinking out of a straw can help you minimize movement and stay hydrated even when you’re having a flare-up. If it hurts too much to eat, try getting a smoothie or protein shake and drink that out of a straw as well.
Transfer things to smaller containers.
Detergent, flour, lotion, milk — anything that comes in bulk can be transferred to a smaller, lighter container to make it easier to carry around. Buying in bulk is more cost effective but it’s often not practical to lug big gallon jugs all over your house. Get smaller containers and refill them from the bigger jars as needed.
Use pumps rather than squeeze tubes.
Speaking of containers, try to avoid squeeze tube toiletries if you can, as these require a lot of hand strength and dexterity to manipulate. Instead, try to buy pump designs when you can. These do not have to be picked up and can be operated with one hand only, making them a better choice for people with arthritis.
Try these hacks to make your mornings easier if you have arthritis. With a few helpful devices and some planning ahead, you can make your mornings way easier on yourself.