10 Self-Care Tips For Osteoarthritis (OA)
Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common age-related degenerative forms of arthritis experienced by many people above the age of 45 to 50 years. Though medicines, pain-relieving drugs, and ointments can help in managing OA, if you can adopt some simple steps and changes in your daily routine, it can help to reduce OA associated pain greatly and manage it effectively.
10 Self-Care Tip For Osteoarthritis Patients To Follow:
- Do Necessary Physical Activity:
Practice some exercises daily to stay active. Though performing exercise can be the last thing the patient of osteoarthritis may like to do, but performing simple exercises daily can help to strengthen the muscles that support the joints. Exercise can make you feel energetic, improve the flexibility of your joints, and reduce stiffness. Some hamstring and quadriceps strengthening exercises can strengthen these muscles, thereby making them strong enough to support the joint and stabilize it effectively. Also, regular exercise helps to reduce the weight which further reduces the stress on the joints.
However, it is important to note that, if you are experiencing an acute flare-up of pain or inflammation of joints, kindly avoid exercise till the flare-up subsides.
The best advice can be to seek the assistance of a Physical Therapist (PT) if you are not able to find the right simple exercises for yourself. A physiotherapist will help you design a simple yet effective plan comprising simple exercises that you can follow daily.
- Choose Low-Impact Activities:
Though staying active can help your knee joints, high impact activities, such as running and participating in vigorous sports, can put a lot of stress on your knees. Go for low-impact activities, such as walking on even surfaces, aerobic exercises, etc.
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- Follow A Balanced Diet:
Instead of focusing on any one particular nutrient, such as calcium, vitamin D, etc. if you concentrate on your diet as a whole and try to have a balanced diet, it will help you a lot. A healthy diet consisting of lots of fruits and vegetables, minerals, such as calcium, iron, etc., whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish, some nuts, and healthy oils, such as olive oil, soybean oil, rice bran oil, etc. is a balanced diet. Such a diet will not only help in alleviating Osteoarthritis but will also keep you fit and healthy.
- Reduce weight:
More weight can put unnecessary strain on your weight-bearing joints, such as the knee joints, spine, hip joints, etc. By reducing weight, you can lower this strain and the consequent pain. Though losing weight is not an easy job, you can surely try some small steps daily, such as taking small portions of the meal at regular intervals instead of having large meals at large intervals, daily exercise, and cutting down on fats, artificial sugars, junk food, etc.
- Use Hot & Cold Compresses:
The use of hot packs can help to increase the blood flow to the joints, and the cold compresses can help to reduce the swelling. You can see which of these packs suits you the best. However, many people also find applying hot and cold packs alternately at regular intervals quite helpful. It is advisable to follow what suits you the best.
- Get Enough Sleep:
Having a sound and sufficient night sleep can help in reducing the pain of Osteoarthritis. Make it a practice to go to bed at the same time every night. Avoid watching the television and accessing social networking sites before sleeping. If you experience pain due to Osteoarthritis in bed, try using some pillows to provide extra support.
- Use Other Supportive Devices:
Supportive devices, such as splints, braces, knee caps, and similar more, can help to stabilize the joint and prevent it from injury.
- Using Appropriate Footwears:
Ill-fitting shoes or shoes that offer poor support should be avoided as it increases the osteoarthritis pain. Use appropriate shoes or footwear that provide comfort and good balance and support. This will help to reduce the discomforting osteoarthritis pain while walking.
- Stay Socially Connected:
People who are socially connected, engage in productive and stress-relieving activities, such as meditation, small brisk walks with close friends, pursue some hobbies, etc. experience less osteoarthritis pain.
- Develop A Positive Outlook:
How you look at your arthritis and how you feel about it can also affect your arthritis. Having a positive mental outlook can help a lot. Try to do something new that you like every day. Engage in some sports with friends and develop and follow some hobbies. Try to utilize your abilities more than concentrating on your disabilities.
Thus, when all these steps are followed along with a good Homeopathic treatment for osteoarthritis, we can easily manage Osteoarthritis without being dependent on over-the-counter pain relievers or any steroids.
- Written by Dr. Pooja Gavas, Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah
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