Lifestyle changes and home treatments also can help reduce osteoarthritis symptoms. You might want to try some of the following tips:
Oct. 09, 2014
- Exercise. Exercise can increase your endurance and strengthen the muscles around your joint, making your joint more stable. Try walking, biking or swimming. If you feel new joint pain, stop. New pain that lasts for hours after you exercise probably means you've overdone it but doesn't mean you should stop exercising altogether.
- Lose weight. Being overweight or obese increases the stress on your weight-bearing joints, such as your knees and your hips. Even a small amount of weight loss can relieve some pressure and reduce your pain. Talk to your doctor about healthy ways to lose weight. Most people combine changes in their diet with increased exercise.
- Use heat and cold to manage pain. Both heat and cold can relieve pain in your joint. Heat also relieves stiffness, and cold can relieve muscle spasms and pain.
- Apply over-the-counter pain creams. Creams and gels available at drugstores may provide temporary relief from osteoarthritis pain. Some creams numb the pain by creating a hot or cool sensation. Other creams contain medications, such as aspirin-like compounds, that are absorbed into your skin. Pain creams work best on joints that are close to the surface of your skin, such as your knees and fingers.
- Use assistive devices. Assistive devices can make it easier to go about your day without stressing your painful joint. A cane may take weight off your knee or hip as you walk. Carry the cane in the hand opposite the leg that hurts. Gripping and grabbing tools may make it easier to work in the kitchen if you have osteoarthritis in your fingers. Your doctor or occupational therapist may have ideas about what sorts of assistive devices may be helpful to you. Catalogs and medical supply stores also may be places to look for ideas.
- Osteoarthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Osteoarthritis/default.asp. Accessed Aug. 8, 2014.
- Goldman L, et al. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 8, 2014.
- AskMayoExpert. Osteoarthritis. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
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- Hochberg, MC, et al. American College of Rheumatology 2012 recommendations for the use of nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic therapies in osteoarthritis of the hand, hip and knee. Arthritis Care & Research. 2012;64:465. Accessed Aug. 8, 2014.
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- Koonce RC, et al. Obesity and osteoarthritis: More than just wear and tear. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 2013;21:161. http://www.jaaos.org/content/21/3/161.abstract. Accessed Aug. 9, 2014.
- Lippiello L, et al. Metabolic effects of avocado/soy unsaponifiables on articular chondrocytes. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2008;5:191.
- Maheu E, et al. Randomized, controlled trial of avocado-soybean unsaponifiable (Piascledine) effect on structure modification in hip osteoarthritis: The ERADIAS study. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. 2014;73:2.
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