A chronic health condition has the ability to drastically affect an individual, physically and psychologically. It makes even the easiest of the tasks appear tedious and performing these tasks can take a major toll on the person’s health. One such condition that is known to affect 30 million men and women in the country, especially the elderly population, is osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is one of the most long-lasting chronic joint condition that cannot be cured completely. A joint is formed when two bones come together and the ends of these bones are covered with cartilage, a protective tissue. This cartilage protects the bones and prevents them from rubbing against each other. When this cartilage breaks down, the bones with the joints rub together, and this results in pain, stiffness, and other symptoms of osteoarthritis.
This condition is majorly characterized by severe joint pains, and the treatments usually revolve around reducing the pain and stiffness of the joints. Read on to learn more about the various ways to treat osteoarthritis.
Though the pain and stiffness in the joints might deter you from performing any kind of physical activity, the best way to manage osteoarthritis is to keep moving. You need to choose a form of physical activity like walking or performing simple exercises that aren’t strenuous as they can help reduce the pain and help you in maintaining a healthy weight. Also, you can consider adding strengthening exercises to your routine as these exercises help build the muscles around the osteoarthritis-affected joints. Doing so will help in easing the burden on the joints and reduce the pain. To improve flexibility, you can start performing range-of-motion exercises as these help in maintaining and improving joint flexibility and reducing stiffness. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that people with osteoarthritis should get 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
Losing the extra pounds is another way of making osteoarthritis bearable. The extra weight adds more stress to weight-bearing joints like the knees, feet, back, and hips. Which is why doctors often advise patients with osteoarthritis to lose weight as it will reduce pain and limit the joint damage. As full-fledged workout sessions aren’t an option for people with this condition, you can make certain amends to your diet and consume lesser calories and increase your normal exercise regime.
Anti-inflammatory and pain medications
Another way of managing the pain caused by osteoarthritis is by taking medications. Anti-inflammatory medications are available in the form of pills, syrups, lotions, and creams, or they are directly injected into the joints for faster results. These anti-inflammatory and pain medications include analgesics that are pain relievers; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which ease inflammation and related pain; corticosteroids; and hyaluronic acid that occurs naturally in the joint fluid and acts as a shock absorber and lubricant.
Physical and occupational therapy
Though osteoarthritis cannot be cured completely, the treatment methods lay emphasis on learning how to manage the condition. Opting for physical and occupational therapy is a great way of learning to manage the pain caused by the condition. Physical and occupational therapy offers a range of treatment options that include ways to properly use the joints, range of motion and flexibility exercises, heat and cold therapies, and the use of assistive devices.