Around 27 million Americans are suffering from osteoarthrosis, a chronic condition that causes joint pain. If you’re one of them, you know just how painful osteoarthritis can be.
Your Kansas City rheumatologist or primary care physician can prescribe medications to help with the pain, but there also lifestyle changes you can make to ease your discomfort. Here are some suggestions:
- Exercise. Exercising while you’re in pain may seem counterproductive at first, but it will definitely pay off in the long run. Exercise will strengthen your bones and your muscles, which will relieves stress on your joints and improve your flexibility.
- Eat healthy foods. A balanced diet can help reduce osteoarthritis pain. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Lean meats (e.g., chicken, turkey), fish that’s high in Omega-3 fatty acids (e.g., tuna, salmon, mackerel), and low-fat dairy are also part of a balanced diet. If you need cooking oil, use olive oil, which helps prevent inflammation.
- Lose weight. Carrying too much weight is hard on your joints, which will increase your pain from osteoarthritis. If you’ve tried to lose weight and haven’t made much headway, ask the Kansas City doctor who’s treating you for osteoarthritis for help.
- Consider alternative therapies. Studies have shown that certain alternative therapies (e.g., acupuncture, massage) and dietary supplements (e.g., glucosamine and chondroitin, SAMe) can help reduce osteoarthritis pain. Always check with your doctor before starting a new treatment or dietary supplement.
- Use joint braces and/or assistive devices. You may not want to use a cane, but doing so will relieve stress on knee or hip joints. And once your pain is under control, you may find you no longer need it. Joint braces and splints can stabilize the joints, which will also relieve stress and reduce pain.
- Apply hot or cold compresses. For swollen joints, use cold compresses. Hot compresses will improve stiffness and relieve pain. If you’re not sure which one you need, alternate until you feel the most relief.
- Have a positive attitude. It’s hard to think positive when you’re in pain. So try to do things you’re still able to enjoy as often as possible. And if you have a bad day, give yourself a break. You’re allowed to feel grumpy or sad now and then.
- Get help. If you need help with exercising, healthy meal preparation, bathing, grooming, or medication reminders, contact a Kansas City home care agency for assistance.