Has osteoarthritis been a part of your life for some time now and it feels as though it is slowly taking over? It’s a common thing to occur and, unfortunately, it is something that millions of people deal with. Osteoarthritis can result in pain, stiffness and swelling in your joints, making it very hard to enjoy daily life and its activities. Even if you only have flare-ups here and there, they may be starting to increase in severity and occurrence.
While osteoarthritis can certainly put a damper on things, there are many tips and treatment techniques that people can use to find relief. The goal should be to reduce and potentially eliminate the pain and flare-ups. Here are some of the best ways to cope with osteoarthritis.
Exercise Is Your Very Best Friend
There are many different tips and advice you can embrace that will help you to better cope with osteoarthritis but few are as impactful as exercise. No matter your age or how mild/advanced your osteoarthritis is, exercise needs to be included in your treatment plan. It can be hard to wrap your head around the fact that being active can help with the pain and stiffness, but it will.
When you exercise regularly, you build strength in your bones and muscles. Exercise also promotes flexibility in the joints. This is extremely important for those who suffer from osteoarthritis. Keeping muscles and joints loose, lubricated and flexible will cut down on the pain and inflammation.
The exercise you choose should help you to boost your heart rate and, of course, get you moving. Some activities you may want to try include:
- Range of motion exercises (you may even want to use very light weights)
- Elliptical machine
- Chores around the house
- Recumbent bicycle
Experts tend to recommend that you aim for 150 minutes of exercise per week, which can be done in 10 minute blocks if you have a hard time doing more than that. It’s always best to start slowly and build up from there.
Do You Need to Lose Weight?
Did you know that maintaining a healthy body weight will also help to manage the pain associated with osteoarthritis? If you are overweight it puts extra stress on your joints and muscles, which then amplifies pain, stiffness and inflammation. All of the above-mentioned exercises will help you to lose weight, but it would also be wise to make adjustments to your diet.
Making healthy food choices means picking foods that are filled with essential vitamins and nutrients. Choose such things as:
- Whole grains
- Lean mean and protein
- Low-fat dairy
- Healthy fats
Losing weight is going to be a process so it will take time, patience and commitment, but the results will be well worth it. If you’re having a hard time sticking to a healthy diet, try using a food tracking app. This will track such things as calories, nutritional benefits, calories burned in a day, and so forth.
Another useful tip is to stop dining out or ordering takeaways, at least at the beginning of your weight loss journey. You need to be in full control of the ingredients and portion sizes, which is best done when you prepare your meals.
Embrace Pain Management Tools
Pain management tools can also be highly effective. Ideally, you get the most results from natural changes like exercise and diet, but that’s not always going to be enough. If you have a flare-up that is preventing you from going about your day, you need quick relief. This is when over-the-counter medication can help, such as acetaminophen. Cold and hot packs can also offer relief, but you will likely prefer one over the other.
Do You Need Orthopaedic Surgery?
At some point, it may also be necessary to ask yourself if surgery is needed. No one wants to rush to surgery as an answer, but depending on your health and condition, it could be the best solution. Orthopaedic surgery is one of the procedures Circle Health Group specialises in, with a strong understanding of just how important your joints and bones are to the musculoskeletal system. An orthopaedic surgeon will be able to assess your symptoms and condition to determine if surgery is ideal.
Who is the right candidate for surgery? Typically it is recommended for those who have already exhausted other options such as steroid injections and physiotherapy. If less invasive treatments aren’t working, it’s time to step up the plan.
Taking Control of Your Health
All of these tips and information will help you to take control of your health and ensure that your osteoarthritis isn’t stopping you from enjoying life. Coping with a chronic health situation can be very frustrating, painful, stressful and even depressing. Reminding yourself that you aren’t alone and that there are tips you can use will make a big difference.