Habits that Assist the Treatment of Osteoarthritis

April 30, 2019
Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis, adopting healthy habits can help control your symptoms. Discover some of them in this article!

Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease that compromises joint health. It frequently affects people over the age of 60, but it can manifest in adults of any age. Although it doesn’t have a cure, some habits can prevent its progression.

How should osteoarthritis be treated?

Fortunately, significant progress has been made in the treatment of this disease. Thus, in addition to drugs such as painkillers, specialists have other recommendations to manage its symptoms.

Discover some of them here!

Habits that Assist the Treatment of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis develops due to progressive joint damage. This deterioration may occur over time, whether due to aging or a previous injury. It causes symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion.

While its severity may vary from patient to patient, it generally affects quality of life. Therefore, the treatment of osteoarthritis aims to reduce disease progression and manage symptoms.

Read: Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis and Arthritis: What Are the Differences?

1. Physical Exercise

Excercising assists the treatment of osteoarthritis.

Exercise promotes physical well-being in general, particularly of the joints, thus improving mobility.

The pain that results from osteoarthritis often decreases the ability to do certain exercises. However, leading a sedentary lifestyle isn’t recommended. Regular low-impact exercises strengthen the muscles around the joints to prevent the complications of the disease.

Among other things, approximately 20 to 30 minutes of daily physical activity helps relieve stiffness and reduce the risk of pain crises. You should do activities such as walking, swimming, or stretching. You can also try yoga or tai chi.

2. Weight Loss

Being overweight or obese can accelerate the deterioration of joints in patients with osteoarthritis. In fact, both are considered possible triggers of the disease. Because of this, those who are overweight should strive to lose a few pounds.

A healthy weight puts less pressure on the joints and, hence, helps keep pain in check. It also reduces the risk of other health complications such as cardiovascular diseases or metabolic syndrome.

3. Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

A man with joint pain.

Sleeping problems can end up worsening ailments and lowering quality of life.

Sometimes, the pain that osteoarthritis causes can affect quality of sleep. Despite this, it’s essential to try to get a good night’s sleep every night, as rest is key to reducing joint swelling.

If you’re having sleeping problems, try the following:

  • Make sure your room is a comfortable place to sleep.
  • Avoid working in your room.
  • Stay away from distracting elements such as computers, cell phones, or tablets before bedtime.
  • Consume foods that promote sleep.
  • Eat healthy, low-calorie dinners.
  • Drink relaxing infusions such as passionflower or Valerian tea.

We recommend that you read: Treatment to Strengthen Bones and Joints

4. Drink Natural Teas

Medicinal teas can’t replace the pharmacological treatment prescribed by your doctor. However, drinking them may assist the treatment of osteoarthritis.

Some teas that are recommended due to their anti-inflammatory properties are ginger tea, green tea, and turmeric tea.

5. Hot and Cold Therapy

Heat and cold therapy.

This therapy is an effective way to control the joints’ inflammatory process.

Heat helps open up blood vessels, thus improving circulation. As a result, nutrient transport to the affected tissues is also improved. Heat also produces a calming effect that reduces rigidity.

On the other hand, the application of ice closes blood vessels and reduces swelling and pain. For this reason, it’s a good option to complement the effects of heat.

  • To begin, apply heat with hot water or a heating pad. You can also moisten a towel with hot water (be careful not to burn yourself).
  • Then, apply it on the affected area for 20 minutes and rest.
  • If you prefer cold therapy, wrap several ice cubes in a cloth or bag and apply it for 20 minutes.

Caution: Avoid applying ice directly on the skin because it can be harmful. Make sure to wrap it in a towel. In addition, when applying heat, make sure the temperature is bearable.

In Conclusion

Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that can worsen without timely treatment.

For this reason, it’s essential to address the symptoms and go see a doctor if you suspect you’re suffering from the disease. The combination of drugs and good habits can yield great results.

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