National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
What You Can Do: The Importance of Self-Care and a Good-Health Attitude continued...
Most people with osteoarthritis exercise best when their pain
is least severe. Start with an adequate warm-up and begin exercising slowly.
Resting frequently ensures a good workout and reduces the risk of injury.
Before beginning any type of exercise program, consult your
doctor or physical therapist to learn which exercises are appropriate for you
and how to do them correctly, because doing the wrong exercise or exercising
improperly can cause problems. A health care professional can also advise you
on how to warm up safely and when to avoid exercising a joint affected by
3. Eat well: Though no specific diet will
necessarily make your arthritis better, eating right and controlling your
weight can help by minimizing stress on the weightbearing joints such as the
knees and the joints of the feet. It can also minimize your risk of developing
other health problems.
Exercises for Osteoarthritis
osteoarthritis should do different kinds of exercise for different benefits to
the body. Consult your health professional before starting.
4. Get plenty of sleep: Getting a good night’s
sleep on a regular basis can minimize pain and help you cope better with the
effects of your disease. If arthritis pain makes it difficult to sleep at
night, speak with your doctor and/or physical therapist about the best mattress
or comfortable sleeping positions or the possibility of timing medications to
provide more pain relief at night. You may also improve your sleep by getting
enough exercise early in the day; avoiding caffeine or alcoholic beverages at
night; keeping your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool; and taking a warm bath to
relax and soothe sore muscles at bedtime.
5. Have fun: While having osteoarthritis
certainly isn’t fun, it doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun. If arthritis
makes it difficult to participate in favorite activities, ask an occupational
therapist about new ways to do them. Activities such as sports, hobbies, and
volunteer work can distract your mind from your own pain and make you a
happier, more well-rounded person.
6. Keep a positive attitude: Perhaps the best
thing you can do for your health is to keep a positive attitude. People must
decide to make the most of things when faced with the challenges of
osteoarthritis. This attitude – a goodhealth mindset – doesn’t just happen. It
takes work, every day. And with the right attitude, you will achieve it.
Enjoy a “Good-Health Attitude”
- Focus on your abilities instead of disabilities.
- Focus on your strengths instead of weaknesses.
- Break down activities into small tasks that you can manage.
- Incorporate fitness and nutrition into daily routines.
- Develop methods to minimize and manage stress.
- Balance rest with activity.
- Develop a support system of family, friends, and health professionals.