Living with Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis can cause pain and swelling as well as a limited range of motion. But there are several steps you can take to help minimize its effects.

The following are some ways to live well with osteoarthritis:

Learn About Your Disease

Although your doctor and other professionals are important to your health, you’ll also want to take the initiative to learn what you can about your disease. Keep track of your symptoms so you can learn what worsens your symptoms as well as what helps alleviate them. Also take time to join support groups and participate in patient education programs. These can help connect you with others who understand what you’re going through, both physically and emotionally, and help you learn ways to better manage your disease.

Eat a Healthy Diet

A balanced diet can help you maintain a healthy weight or lose weight if you need to. This will help prevent your osteoarthritis from getting worse and provide additional health benefits. Some fruits and vegetables for example, contain antioxidants. These substances may help reduce pain and inflammation. Omega-E fatty acids, which are found in fatty fish such as tuna and salmon, may also help reduce these symptoms. Foods that are rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits and broccoli, help build collagen and connective tissue that can help support your joints. A healthy diet will help your overall health and may very well provide benefits specific to your osteoporosis symptoms.

Get Moving

Osteoarthritis can make your joints stiff and limit your range of motion so exercise may seem counter intuitive. However, strengthening exercises can help build muscle to support your joints. Aerobic exercises can help your overall health and make it easier to keep your weight in check. Balance exercises and ones that increase your range of motion can also yield important benefits. Exercise will also help you relieve the stress that can accompany your disease. Check with your doctor for help in developing an exercise program that will help you stay as healthy as possible.

Get the Rest You Need

The pain associated with osteoarthritis can interrupt your sleep which can make it more difficult to manage your disease. Make sleep a priority and talk with your doctor or physical therapist if you’re having trouble getting the rest you need. He or she may be able to suggest a type of mattress or sleeping position that can help you. Your doctor may also be able to alter your medication or adjust when you take it if it’s related to your sleeping issues.

Living with osteoarthritis can be painful as well as stressful, but the more steps you take to be proactive in addressing your symptoms, the more successful you’ll be in living well.