Aches and pains may seem like just another part of growing older, but stiffness and pain in your joints might have another cause. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, diabetes can affect the musculoskeletal system, which includes the tendons, ligaments, and joints, as well as bones and muscles. For example, more than half of people who have diabetes also have arthritis, a term that describes over 100 conditions that are caused by inflammation of the joints and connective tissues.
Arthritis and other joint problems aren’t inevitable, though. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, can be prevented or delayed with a lot of the same lifestyle measures you can use to treat your diabetes, including keeping physically active and losing excess weight to ease pressure on vulnerable joints. If you’ve already noticed stiffness and pain in your joints, there are a number of treatment options available to you. The following resources offer information on both how to prevent joint pain and stiffness and how to live well if you’re already dealing with a musculoskeletal condition.
NO MORE JOINT PAIN
Joseph A. Abboud, MD, and Soo Kim Abboud, MD
Yale University Press
New Haven, Connecticut, 2008
This book has two parts. The first focuses on the locations where joint pain most commonly occurs, such as the back, the hips, the elbows, and the wrists, and describes the various conditions that can cause pain there. The second part addresses methods of treatment, with chapters on both conventional and alternative therapies and an epilogue on the future of joint pain treatment.
MAYO CLINIC GUIDE TO MANAGING ARTHRITIS
Gene Hunter, MD
Mayo Clinic Health Solutions
Rochester, Minnesota, 2006
This guide focuses on improving the well-being of people with arthritis and other joint conditions. Topics the book covers include pain management, increasing mobility, and how to keep your joints as healthy as possible. Mayo Clinic also publishes the Mayo Clinic Guide to Pain Relief, which further addresses pain management for people living with conditions that cause chronic joint pain.
THE ARTHRITIS HELPBOOK (SIXTH EDITION)
Kate Lorig, RN, DrPH, and James F. Fries, MD
Da Capo Press
Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2006
This book is aimed at everyone with arthritis or a related condition but is especially intended for people who have only recently been diagnosed. It encourages people to develop a long-term self-care plan for living with arthritis and chronic joint pain, including ways to address the mental and emotional consequences of chronic illness.
ARTHRITIS: KEEPING YOUR JOINTS HEALTHY
Editors of Harvard Health Publications and Robert Shmerling, MD
Harvard Medical School
This Special Health Report, from Harvard Medical School, aims to dispel the notions that arthritis is an inevitable part of aging and that arthritis is a single illness, instead of a large group of related conditions. The report focuses on understanding and recognizing symptoms of the various types of arthritis to best treat them. Both this report and the related Joint Pain Relief Workout, comprised of four different workout plans designed to ease joint pain and stiffness, are available in print or PDF form at www.health.harvard.edu/special_health_reports.
THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL THERAPY ASSOCIATION BOOK OF BODY MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR
Marilyn Moffat, PT, PhD, FAPTA, and Steve Vickery
Round Stone Press, Inc.
Ontario, Canada, 1999
This book covers the care of all parts of the musculoskeletal system and includes chapters that specifically target joints, including the shoulders, hips, and knees, with exercises devoted to each area. It includes medical information, self-care tips on exercise and fitness, and information on preventing injuries, with a focus on how to perform everyday activities (working at a desk, doing the laundry) in ways that cause the least possible stress on joints and muscles.
MAYO CLINIC WELLNESS SOLUTIONS FOR ARTHRITIS
This instructional DVD combines alternative therapies with conventional ones, emphasizing a well-rounded treatment regimen that includes a healthy diet as well as gentle yoga and meditation to relieve the symptoms of arthritis.
Diabetes Self-Management’s sister publication offers practical information on managing arthritis and related conditions, with tips and advice on exercise, nutrition, treatment options, and mental and emotional health. The magazine is published bimonthly; an e-mail newsletter, Arthritis Self-Management Extra (www.arthritisselfmanagement.com/Newsletter/Subscribe), that includes breaking news and recipes, is published biweekly.
CLEVELAND CLINIC FREE GUIDES AND NEWSLETTERS
The Cleveland Clinic offers a number of downloadable PDFs on various health-related topics, including on the health of the muscles and bones. Under the heading “Bones, Muscles, and Joints” on the left side of the page, there are links to PDFs containing information on hip, knee, and shoulder pain, osteoporosis, and other conditions.
LIVING WITH DIABETES: FROZEN SHOULDER
American Diabetes Association (ADA)
The section of the ADA’s Web site devoted to conditions related to diabetes includes a section on adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder), a condition that limits a person’s use of his shoulder and causes pain. The page describes the symptoms of the disorder and emphasizes the importance of early treatment.
ARTHRITIS: AN OVERVIEW
American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)
This page from the AAOS offers a look at the various forms of arthritis, beginning with a description of the causes, symptoms, and diagnoses. It also covers methods of treatment, including medicines, physical therapy, and surgery. You can also test your knowledge of arthritis with a quiz (http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00214). The AAOS Web site also has a page on frozen shoulder (http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00071).
P.O. Box 7669
Atlanta, GA 30357-0669
The Web site for this organization, dedicated to raising awareness of arthritis and improving the lives of the people who have it, offers a range of resources. Clicking the “Arthritis Types” option in the menu at the top of the home page leads to the Diseases page, which provides links to the Disease Center, where you can find information on the major types of arthritis. Further down the page are links to pages on how to protect your joints and how to manage pain. The site also hosts message boards ( http://community.arthritis.org/app/render/go.aspx?xsl=tp_community.xslt) where people who have arthritis and other joint conditions can find information and support.
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ARTHRITIS AND MUSCULOSKELETAL AND SKIN DISEASES (NIAMS)
1 AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD 20892-3675
TTY: (301) 565-2966
Fax: (301) 718-6366
NIAMS, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), maintains a number of pages relating to disorders of the joints that are more common in people with diabetes. The page on shoulder problems (www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Shoulder_Problems/default.asp) includes information on frozen shoulder, as well as on arthritis’s effects on that joint. Another page, on arthritis and rheumatic diseases, or diseases that cause inflammation (http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Arthritis/arthritis_rheumatic_qa.asp), includes an extensive overview of these conditions, as well as detailed information on testing, diagnosis, and medical treatment. A menu on the right of both pages offers links to other relevant pages; paper copies of any page can be ordered online at http://catalog.niams.nih.gov.