Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis caused by an injury or degeneration after long-term stress on your joints. Finding ways to lessen joint pain and improve mobility can prevent arthritis from becoming disabling.
You may falsely assume joint pain and inflammation is caused by osteoarthritis if this is the only type of arthritis you know. If you have any ongoing joint pain, you should have a full examination by your doctor. There are many forms of arthritis with different underlying causes and treatments. Inflammatory arthritis, Lyme disease, and arthritis associated with lupus can be confused with osteoarthritis and are not manageable without ongoing medical care.
Regular activity is especially important when you have arthritis in your weight-bearing joints. Daily mild to moderate exercise can help alleviate joint pain and stiffness and improve overall mobility. Light resistance activity will help you increase muscle and connective tissue strength, which can reduce the likelihood of joint instability. If arthritis pain and swelling are not a daily occurrence, you may find walking and swimming are the easiest exercises that do not aggravate your joints.
Be Mindful of Your Weight
If you have excess weight to lose, even slight reductions in your weight can decrease stress on your joints. This is not always easy if you currently experience physical limitations due to arthritis. If you experience physical limitations, focus more on your diet to minimize excess weight.
Although a well-rounded diet is preferred, when you cannot engage in regular exercise you may want to try a low carbohydrate diet. Protein is typically more satisfying for the same number of calories, which can make it easier to stick to a low calorie diet. As you lose weight, you may find it is easier to engage in exercise.
Use Medication Sparingly
With many over-the-counter (OTC) medications available to alleviate arthritis, you may not know when you need a different treatment regimen. OTC naproxen and ibuprofen are anti-inflammatory pain medications that are helpful for occasional episodes of arthritis. If you need to exceed the maximum dosage or take the maximum dosage for more than a few days, it is time to speak with your doctor.
Other medications can be more effective for long-term pain, such as COX-2 inhibitors. Your doctor may also recommend physical therapy to improve your joint function or supports if joint instability is a problem.
Osteoarthritis is a common condition that is usually manageable with dietary and activity changes. Moderate to severe arthritis may require ongoing treatment with prescription medications and therapy to maintain daily functioning. To learn more about this condition, consider speaking with a doctor from Arthritis & Rheumatology Associates of South Jersey.