6 Ways To Manage Arthritis On A Budget
Living with osteoarthritis can be challenging at the best of times, but the cost of living crisis can make it harder to get what you need to take care of yourself.
You may be worried that treating your condition requires expensive medications, therapies, or equipment, but that is not necessarily the case. Here are six easy and affordable ways that you can manage your arthritis symptoms without paying a fortune.
1. Eat healthy but affordable food
A balanced diet can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce inflammation, and prevent or delay complications from arthritis. You might think fruit and veg are expensive, but that doesn’t have to be the case. While fresh fruit and veg are lovely, frozen foods are packed at their peak ripeness and can keep for long periods of time, so you don’t have to worry about it spoiling within a few days.
Buying frozen fruit and veg can help you reduce food waste (which can help you save money in the long run), while ensuring you have food in the house for when you don’t feel up to going to the shops, not to mention allowing you to make less trips to the shop and therefore save on petrol or delivery costs - and they still contain the vitamins and nutrients that you need to stay healthy!
Canned goods are another affordable and long lasting source of nutritious food, and swapping some of your meat meals for affordable plant based options (like beans) can be good for your wallet. Buying in bulk can initially feel more expensive, but it often works out cheaper and ensures that you have food for longer - as long as you buy non-perishable foods and store them correctly.
2. Get moving without the gym
Physical activity is essential for keeping your joints flexible, strengthening your muscles, and boosting your mood. However, you do not need to spend money on a gym membership or fancy equipment to exercise.
There are many ways to keep your joints moving without paying for it, such as walking, gardening, dusting off that old bike, and/or following a free tai chi or yoga workout on Youtube. If you want to do weight training, consider buying your own weights to use at home, or use household items - such as water bottles or cans - as a cheap alternative.
There may also be affordable or free local community exercise or movement for wellbeing classes in your area if you would like to add a social element to your exercise. Also consider looking at concession rates at your local pool if you’d like some water-based activities.
3. Stay warm without paying huge energy bills
Cold weather can worsen joint pain and stiffness, so it is important to stay warm during the winter months. We know that heating has become more expensive recently, but there are ways to stay warm without cranking up the temperature.
To save money on your energy bills, you can look for ways to insulate your home, such as sealing windows and doors, using curtains or blinds, and adding rugs or carpets. You can also use electric blankets, heating pads, or hot water bottles to wrap around sore joints or keep under your bed, as well as wrapping up warm when you’re around the house.
You may also want to look into the energy price guarantee and shop around to see if your current energy provider is the most affordable option out there. National Energy Action offers direct advice and support for people struggling with heating prices.
4. Buy store painkillers instead of big brand names
Painkillers can help you cope with arthritis pain and inflammation, but they can also be costly if you buy big brand names. However, you can save money by buying generic painkillers instead, as they usually contain the same active ingredients and work just as well as the branded ones whilst also being less expensive. You can also ask your doctor or pharmacist for generic or cheaper alternatives to your prescribed medications.
5. Use natural remedies or alternative therapies
Besides painkillers, there are other natural remedies or alternative therapies that can help you manage your arthritis symptoms without costing a lot of money.
Whilst evidence for the effectiveness of natural remedies is mixed and often anecdotal, you may want to try some herbs, spices, oils, or supplements that have anti-inflammatory or analgesic properties, such as turmeric, ginger, fish oil, or glucosamine. Remember, every month we create a recipe that is packed with good for arthritis ingredients to ensure you’re eating right with arthritis. You can also sign-up to our free newsletter to get these directly to your inbox every month.
Things like acupuncture, massage, or hypnosis may not sound accessible, but anyone anywhere can meditate and meditation can help you learn to cope with pain. Youtube is full of different meditations and mindfulness practices, and there are free or by donation meditation classes available all over the country.
6. Apply for financial assistance or benefits
If you have arthritis and are struggling to pay for your living expenses or medical bills, you may be eligible for financial assistance or benefits from the government or other organisations.
For example, you may qualify for disability benefits, tax credits, grants, vouchers, or discounts on various services or products. You can check online or contact your local council or Citizens Advice Bureau to find out what support is available for you. Help for households (UK) and Cost of Living (Scotland) may also be helpful.
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