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Osteoarthritis Health Center

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Osteoarthritis - Home Treatment

Change how you do things

  • Protect your joints. There are some things that you can do to protect your joints. For example:
    • Try not to do tasks that cause pain or swelling in joints.
    • Use the largest joints or strongest muscles to do things. For example, when you lift a heavy object off the floor, use your hip and knee muscles, not your back. Or when you carry a bag of groceries, use the palm of your hand or your forearm instead of grasping it with your fingers.
  • Change activitiesChange activities. If your joints hurt when you do an activity, try other ways of doing it that don't cause pain. For example, walk instead of jog. Or use a sewing machine to make a quilt instead of making it by hand.
  • Modify your home and work areaModify your home and work area. If you have a hard time moving around or if you get tired easily, try making some changes in your home and work areas. For example, use a reacher to pick up things off the floor. Or for tasks that you would normally do standing up, use a tall stool instead so you can sit down.
  • Maintain good postureMaintain good posture. Poor posture puts stress on your back and neck. The key to good posture is to keep the right amount of curve in your lower back. Too much curve (swayback) or too little (flat back) can cause problems. Having good posture can help reduce pain.
  • Wear comfortable and supportive shoes. If you have arthritis in your back, hips, knees, or feet, you may be able to reduce the stress on your joints by wearing the right shoes or by adding insoles to your shoes. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about the footwear that would be best for you.

Use medicine and heat or cold

One Woman's Story:

Bev, 76

"Gardening books and magazines always have wonderful ideas and innovations that you can use. For instance, I've cut off sections of the rubber insulation that is used to cover water pipes and slipped them over any of the garden tools that I'm going to use, because it gives me a little more cushion and a little extra width for my tools."-Bev

Read more about Bev and how she learned to cope with arthritis.

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