When stiffness and aches in your knees, feet, hands or elbows become intense, you may feel the urge to sit and do nothing until the moment passes. For those who live with arthritis or other types of joint pain, it’s important to stay mobilized and flexible. Knowing when to expect “bad days” can help, and while we can’t predict the future there are ways to forecast how your health may turn, and guide you toward the right solutions.
How can a journal help with joint pain?
Journaling provides an outlet for releasing stress. Whether you journal to record the events of the day or to vent about recent frustrations, you are creating a forum into which you may channel stress. This in turn may decrease triggers that flare up your joints.
People use journals to track a variety of activities, from food intake to exercise to tasks to complete. Having a regular diary helps maintain motivation to reach goals. From a health perspective, it’s good to have a history you can consult.
Take notes of when your arthritis or joint pain peaks, for example. Over time, you maybe be able to tell if your pain intensifies at a certain time of day, after you’ve eaten something, or on a day you skipped exercise.
The more you keep track of your day, the better you can pinpoint moments of stiffness and aching and work toward reducing them.
How to get started
Journaling doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. All you need are a pen and spiral notebook to start. If you prefer to work digitally, spreadsheets can work to track your days. Search the internet and you may find formatted templates for different needs.
Some activities to consider tracking for health improvement may include:
Sleep – Are you getting enough each night?
Steps – Record your daily walks by steps or mileage depending on your goals.
Pain scale – Rate your overall pain from 1 to 10. Compare each score to the day’s activity or lack thereof.
Numerous phone apps are also available to assist with tracking and exercise. Consult with your physician for recommendations.
Have questions about regulating joint pain? The physicians and therapists at Bon Secours Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists are here to help. Contact us today with your questions.