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In Active Jobs

For people who have more physically active jobs, the strain on their joints may be different, but it can be just as taxing. Try these tips:

  • If you lift things frequently, be sure to use safe lifting skills. Bend at the knees, not the waist, and use aid devices and levers if possible. Transport items on wheels whenever you can.
  • If you have to move heavy objects, find ways to push rather than pull them, recommends Supnekar. “Pushing uses the muscles of the legs, chest, and back, while pulling uses the small muscles and joints of the hands, wrists, and fingers. Always try to use your larger joints more than your smaller joints.”
  • If you can, mix up periods of heavy activity that puts more strain on your joints with less intense work, giving the joints a rest.

For Everyone

Stretch. No matter what your job is, you probably do certain activities over and over again, or get into the same sitting or standing position for long periods of time. To protect your joints, break that cycle.

“Set an alarm on your watch, phone, or computer to remind you to take a break and stretch every 40 minutes or so,” says Manno. If you spend most of your time sitting, stand up, stretch, and walk around for a few minutes. If you spend most of your time standing, stretch and then take a few minutes to sit.

Use the Right Tool. “When you have OA in your fingers or hands, you shouldn’t be doing any tight pinching,” says Supnekar. That means selecting the right tool for the job: like a felt-tip pen instead of a ball point, a properly sharpened knife or pair of scissors for cutting, and tools for tasks like kitchen work and gardening with padded handles. When opening bags or boxes, use scissors or a cutting device, rather than yanking at them with your hands.

Time Your Meds. If you have certain times of the day when you know you’ll be doing particularly repetitive or joint-straining work, take your pain relievers according to that schedule. “Think about what your day is like and when you’re most uncomfortable,” says Manno. “If you know you’ll be writing reports for four hours in front of the computer, take your medication a bit before you’re about to start that work.”