Managing Osteoarthritis

Posted 20th October 2020

Check out the below tips courtesy of The Arthritis Foundation to help you manage Osteoarthritis symptoms. Visit your local Healthcare Hero for more advice and to collect your free pain management diary so that you can track your symptoms.

Medications

Pain and anti-inflammatory medicines for osteoarthritis are available as pills, syrups, patches and creams. They include:  

  • Analgesics. 
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). 

Nondrug Therapies

Exercise

An exercise program recomended by your healthcare professional to fight osteoarthritis pain and stiffness may have four parts:

  • Strengthening exercises build muscles around painful joints and helps to ease the stress on them. 
  • Range-of-motion exercise or stretching helps to reduce stiffness and keep joints moving.
  • Aerobic or cardio exercises help improve stamina and energy levels and reduce excess weight.
  • Balance exercises help strengthen small muscles around the knees and ankles and help prevent falls.

Talk to a doctor or physical therapist before starting a new exercise program.

Weight Loss

Being overweight puts extra stress on the hips, knees, feet and back. Maintaining a healthy weight helps to reduce pain and stop or slow down joint damage. 

Physical Therapies and Assistive Devices
Physical therapists, occupational therapists and chiropractors can provide:

  • Specific exercises to help stabilize your joints and ease pain.
  • Information about natural treatments and products that can ease pain.
  • Instruction to make movement easier and to protect joints. 
  • Braces, shoe inserts or other assistive devices.

Surgery

For some patients joint surgery can improve function or replace damaged joints to restore mobility and relieve pain. Hips and knees are the joints most commonly replaced. An orthopedic surgeon can determine the best procedure based on how badly damaged the joint is.

Control Blood Sugar

 High glucose levels can make cartilage stiffer and more likely to break down. Having diabetes causes inflammation, which also weakens cartilage.

Maintain Range of Motion

Make a habit of putting your joints through their full range of motion, but only up to the point where it doesn’t cause more pain. Gentle stretching, raising and lowering legs from a standing or seated position, daily walks and hobbies such as gardening can help.  But listen to your body and never push too hard.

Protect Joints

Make sure to warm up and cool down when doing exercise. If you play sports, protects joints with the right gear. Use your largest, strongest joints for lifting, pushing, pulling and carrying. Watch your step to prevent falls. Balance rest and activity throughout the day.  

Relax

Find ways to reduce or avoid stress through meditation, listening to music, connecting with friends and family, doing fun activities, and finding ways to relax and recharge.

Choose a Healthy Lifestyle

Eating healthy food, not smoking, drinking in moderation and getting good sleep will help you to feel your best.

Source: 

https://www.artritis.org/diseases/osteoarthritis