Exercise: Exercise is the most effective nondrug treatment for reducing pain and improving movement. Moderate physical activity on a regular basis reduces fatigue, strengthens muscles and bones, increases flexibility and stamina, and improves your general sense of well-being.
Weight Loss: Maintaining a healthy weight -- or losing weight if you are overweight -- can lessen your pain by reducing stress on joints. Weight loss helps ease pressure on the hips, knees, back, and feet.
Emotional Well-Being: Mild depression can often be eased through such things as social interaction, journaling, exercise, or doing something you find fun, such as shopping or seeing a funny movie. However, if your depression is something deeper or more long-lasting than just a mild case of the blues, it is not something to suffer through silently. Talk to your doctor about what you are feeling. He or she can help.
Relaxation and Sleep: Learning to relax is an important part of dealing with the stress of a chronic medical condition such as osteoarthritis. Deep breathing, progressive relaxation, and creative or guided imagery are techniques that can help.
Other methods of relaxation, such as biofeedback or self-hypnosis, are also available but may require instruction from a doctor or other health care professional.