It’s estimated that more than 22 percent of American adults have been diagnosed with arthritis. And because it impacts function and mobility, it is a leading cause of disability in the U.S.

Find out how these members have dealt with joint pain and arthritis.

Please note that the following tips from members do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Blue Cross and Blue Shield. These tips are intended as general information only. Please consult your physician for specific advice.

For me losing even 10 pounds helped reduce joint pain significantly. Also, I stopped drinking or eating anything with artificial sweeteners.

— Rose C.

I was diagnosed with an arthritic hip when I was 40 years young. The solutions at that time were aspirin and/or NSAIDS and hip replacement. I was told to get my hip replaced when the pain and/or lifestyle affected me so much that getting a hip replacement would be an easy decision.

I followed the advice of the doctor and physical therapists, but I also educated myself on treatments and took charge of my very active life. Some people think that an arthritic joint should not be moved because it can cause pain. But the truth is that it needs activity and movement to keep the joint nourished and loose.  

I found that certain types of stretching helped keep my hip from getting stiff. I spent time in the pool doing exercises that helped keep my hip joints strong and fluid while not adding any impact or trauma to them. I switched to non-weight bearing or low-impact sports, such as beach volleyball (soft sand) and mountain biking.

After managing my hip pain for 10 years, I opted for hip resurfacing instead of hip replacement at age 50. I had the other hip resurfaced 10 years later. And now at 63 years old, I still lead a very active life, playing as much beach volleyball or beach tennis as the rest of my body can handle.

I am pain free and the new hips helped ease some pain I was getting in my lower and upper back, likely from my bad hips. I cannot tell that my hips are fake except for the occasional squeak! I feel better than I have felt since I was diagnosed well over 20 years ago.

— John B.

I take a triple-strength glucosamine chondroitin tablet each morning. This supplement takes away the pain in my thumbs and I find no side effects at all.

— Dawn C.

I went to a rheumatologist and found out that I had psoriatic arthritis, which is a type of arthritis that up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis develop. I didn’t take the psoriasis seriously, although I had it for about 10 years. After going through an extremely stressful time in my life, I started hurting all over — in all of my joints. Untreated psoriatic arthritis may destroy joints, so it’s important for you to seek treatment as soon as possible.

— Mary E.

I have had rheumatoid arthritis for over 25 years. I have taken many different prescription medications, some that worked, some that didn’t.

In 1996, I met a nutritionist who told me that she could help me alleviate the pain by making some changes to my diet. They were drastic changes, but I did exactly what she said, and after 60 days, I was living pain-free and taking no medication.

So for me, the joint pain is my body’s response to certain foods. Talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about possible changes in your diet to see if it helps you, too.

— Karen S.