Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes the cartilage to become worn down. This condition can keep you from performing certain functions, although only a small number of cases keeps people from doing daily activities. This disease mainly attacks joint cartilage, which begins to lose mass, and almost always affects the hands, knees, hips and spine. Discover natural ways to eliminate symptoms of osteoarthritis below.
Who can suffer from osteoarthritis and what are the symptoms?
Contrary to popular belief, osteoarthritis doesn’t only affect the elderly; any person can develop osteoarthritis, regardless of their age, although it certainly is more common among older people, and is more frequent in women and people with a genetic predisposition.
One of the most feared symptoms of osteoarthritis is pain, which first occurs when the patient makes a quick movement, causing the joints to contract. This pain usually wears off with rest, but as the osteoarthritis advances, it can become more intense and frequent. Patients suffering from osteoarthritis may also be unable to move around normally and tend to suffer from progressive deformation of the affected joint.
How can I prevent osteoarthritis and pain at home?
People with osteoarthritis absolutely must go to the doctor to get a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. However, there are also a few key things you can do at home to help alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis, although we do recommend pursuing these tips with medical supervision.
Keep your body weight in balance
Obesity is one of the causes of this illness; plus, it makes osteoarthritis progress more quickly. If you are obese or overweight while suffering from this disease, it is crucial that you start a diet to lose weight. You don’t necessarily have to follow a super strict diet or make yourself feel hungry all the time; a low-calorie diet should be enough.
Hot and cold therapy
Generally, heat is more effective in treating the symptoms of osteoarthritis, although sometimes, cold can be even better. To use this type of therapy, get a few hot towels and place them on the area where you are experiencing pain. This therapy will help to alleviate the pain and relax your muscles. If your osteoarthritic joint is swollen, you should apply towels soaked in cold water.
Medication should only ever be used under medical supervision, because only a doctor can decide which treatment is most appropriate for your condition. There are a number of analgesics, anti-inflammatories, gels, lotions, local infiltrations and drugs on the market that are aimed at keeping osteoarthritis from advancing while simultaneously alleviating its symptoms. However, avoid self-medicating and always talk to a doctor before pursuing any of the above-mentioned treatments.
Although doing exercises may seem painful for people who suffer from osteoarthritis, the truth is that doing specific exercises is very helpful in treating the symptoms of these health problems. First and foremost, we recommend resting the affected joints. However, staying completely still all the time could make you dependent on others, in addition to intensifying your osteoarthritis problem. That’s why you should do light physical activity such as walking, biking and swimming, among others. You can also talk to an expert to create an exercise routine designed especially for protecting and strengthening your joints.
If you are experiencing intense osteoarthritis pain, the best thing you can do is put your activities on hold and rest. We recommend alternating between periods of activity and periods of rest throughout the day.
If you suffer from back, hip or knee osteoarthritis, it is very important that you use thick-soled footwear that will absorb the shock of your foot hitting the ground as you walk. Avoid using high heels and look for flat soles. Another option is using insoles or silicone heel inserts, both available at major footwear stores.
To alleviate the pain that osteoarthritis causes, we also recommend giving yourself a light massage in the affected area, but without applying too much pressure. Here are a few of the products you can use for your massages:
- Ginger oil
- Rosemary oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Arnica oil