Osteoarthritis is a common joint disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a degenerative condition that occurs when the cartilage in the joints wears away, causing pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are ways to manage the symptoms and improve your quality of life. In this blog, we will discuss some tips to deal with osteoarthritis.
Exercise Regularly: Regular exercise is one of the best ways to manage osteoarthritis. Exercise helps to improve joint flexibility, reduce pain and stiffness, and strengthen the muscles around the affected joint. Low-impact activities such as swimming, cycling, and yoga are excellent choices for people with osteoarthritis.
Maintain a Healthy Weight: Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis and worsen the symptoms if you already have it. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce stress on the joints, which can help to reduce pain and stiffness.
Use Heat or Cold Therapy: Applying heat or cold therapy can help to reduce inflammation and relieve pain in the affected joint. You can use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm towel for heat therapy, and an ice pack or frozen vegetables for cold therapy. You can choose to use heat prior to exercises, and ice after exercises.
Take Medications as Prescribed: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help to reduce pain and inflammation. However, it is essential to take these medications as prescribed by your doctor to avoid potential side effects.
Try Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapy (OT) can help to improve joint flexibility, strength, and range of motion. Your OT can develop an exercise program tailored to your specific needs and provide advice on how to manage your symptoms. Furthermore, your OT may fabricate custom braces for you to improve your function, and make recommendations to assist with daily living tasks.
Use Assistive Devices: Assistive devices such as braces, canes, adapted utensils/equipment can help to support the affected joint and reduce the strain on it. You can consult with your doctor or occupational therapist to determine which device is best suited for your needs.
Manage Stress: Stress can make osteoarthritis symptoms worse. Therefore, it is essential to manage stress levels by practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga.
In conclusion, managing osteoarthritis requires a multifaceted approach that includes regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, using heat or cold therapy, taking medications as prescribed, trying occupational therapy, using assistive devices, and managing stress levels. By following these tips, you can improve your quality of life and reduce the impact of osteoarthritis on your daily activities. However, it is crucial to consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise program or treatment.