All About Osteoarthritis and Women
13 Tips: Rein in Your Osteoarthritis Pain continued...
2. Work on Your Diet. If losing weight is a goal, talk to a
dietitian to get on track with healthy eating habits. Also, antioxidant and
calcium supplements can boost your bone strength: Vitamin D (400 IU daily) and
calcium (1,000-1,200 mg daily). Antioxidant vitamins C and E may also provide
3. Stay Active. Exercise is hands-down the best treatment
for osteoarthritis. Exercise helps you lose weight, increases flexibility,
eases pain, boosts your mood, strengthens your heart, and improves blood flow.
Mall walking, swimming, and water aerobics are popular because they are easy on
joints. If exercise is painful at first, stay with it... it will get easier,
reducing overall pain in the long run. But be sure to talk to your doctor
before starting a new fitness or diet plan.
4. Get Strong. Muscles become weak when you have
osteoarthritis, and that leads to more pain. By doing exercises to strengthen
muscles, you ease the pain and develop greater stability in your joints -- so
there's less risk of falls. Also, special exercises can increase the range of
motion in your joints. Talk to your physician or physical therapist to be sure
you're doing these exercises correctly.
5. Have Fun. Don't let your life be all about
osteoarthritis. Get out, have a good time! When you're distracted from the
pain, you'll feel happier. Sports, hobbies, volunteer projects, and other
activities can take your mind off the pain. If you're having trouble
participating in favorite activities, talk to an occupational therapist about
6. Make Adjustments. Sensible changes can lessen the strain
on joints and muscles and prevent painful spasms. If you have osteoarthritis in
your back, make sure it gets good support when you sit. That means sitting in a
chair to read, not reading in bed. If you have arthritis in your hip, it helps to adjust the
toilet seat or furniture to a comfortable level.
7. Use Heat and Cold. Heating pads, hot packs, a warm bath
or shower, warm wax (paraffin) applications -- these increase blood flow,
easing pain and stiffness. Cold packs can reduce inflammation in a sore area.
Many people keep bags of ice or frozen vegetables (like peas) on hand. Wrapped
in a towel, these cold packs easily mold to fit a sore joint, like a knee.