21 Steps to Better Self-Care If You Have Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis, or OA, is caused by the wear and tear on our joints as we age. It can be caused by normal activities over time, the loss of collagen and cartilage as we age, which are like shock absorbers and lubricants in our joints, and injury, such as a sports injury.
OA affects more than 27 million Americans of all ages, but usually hits after 45. Good health is all about prevention if possible, through proper self-care. Taking care of your joints so they will take care of you is important, but if you are already suffering from the effects of OA, there are many simple things you can do at home to get relief from your OA.
The treatment option/s you choose will depend on where the pain is located, how severe it is, and how much time you are willing to set aside to take better care of yourself. In a few instances, you might the help of a partner or perhaps a professional such as a massage therapist to come to your home.
Natural methods for OA pain relief include:
1. resting when you are sore
2. physical therapy after an injury
3. custom workout routines to target trouble spots to maintain mobility
4. not sitting for too many hours
5. not hunching over a desk or computer
6. not doing the same tasks over and over again, which can lead to repetitive stress injury
7. gentle, easy stretching in the morning
8. gentle stretching before and after each exercise session
9. strengthening your core muscles with yoga, tai chi, resistance bands and crunches
10. yoga for flexibility and pain relief
11. cold therapy – apply an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel
12. heat therapy –use a heating pad or hot water bottle
13. hydrotherapy –use water to soothe. Take a warm bath or shower, soak in a warm tub, or work out in a pool.
14. getting enough sleep
15. sleeping on a supportive bed
16. sitting in a supportive chair
17. using assistive aids such as a knee brace or shoe orthotics
18. meditation for pain and stress relief
19. stress-relief to ease tension and tight muscles
20. better posture sitting and standing
21. massage therapy, either from your loved one or a professional therapist
At least a few of these should work well, so set a schedule and journal about your success, and see what a difference each can make to your OA pain.