Have you recently received a diagnosis of osteoarthritis?
Are you feeling confused, frustrated and alone?
Do you feel as though your life has been turned upside down by this diagnosis and that you have lost control?
If this is the case, you’ll be happy to know there are many ways to manage osteoarthritis pain and build a fulfilling and enjoyable life.
Begin by approaching the situation with a positive mental attitude. It is not the end of the world and you can still lead a good life.
The first thing you should do is learn as much as you can about osteoarthritis.
Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the better you will be able to manage your symptoms and continue enjoying your life. Be sure to discuss the situation at length with your doctor as well as your immediate family. Find out about pain medications and actions you can take to reduce pain and discuss sensible plans for everyday living.
Arthritis Australia says, “As the population ages, the number of people with arthritis is growing. According to leading researcher Access Economics, current trends suggest that, by 2050, 7 million Australians will suffer from some form of arthritis. There is a widely held belief that arthritis is simply a consequence of age, the pain of growing old. But it is not a natural part of ageing.”
From my own personal experience with arthritis by actively taking charge yourself will help you approach the situation positively and with good results.
Here is a list of some simple strategies you can use to help cope effectively with osteoarthritis:
1. Get plenty of good quality rest.
Meditation and relaxation will help you centre your thoughts and rejuvenate your body. Take naps during the day as needed. Practice deep breathing exercises to calm your nerves and oxygenate your body. Get light to moderate exercise, and don’t become over tired.
2. Identify a wide variety of gentle forms of exercise to stay limber and fit.
Use exercise CDs and DVDs at home. Join your local gym and get a personal trainer or take classes in yoga, tai chi, water aerobics or other gentle forms of exercise in a park near you or a nearby swimming pool.
3. Find and use adaptive devices that will make your life easier.
Maintain your level of independence and ability to do daily chores by making good use of extenders, grippers, a stylish walking cane and other ingenious devices that will help you successfully accomplish the tasks of daily living. Your doctor can make good recommendations and catalogues filled with great innovations can be found all over the internet.
4. Stay trim and slim.
If you are overweight, you are adding stress to your joints and bones every minute of every day. Attain and maintain a proper weight so that your body can function at its best.
5. Keep several hot/cold packs on hand.
Inexpensive hot/cold packs can work wonders to alleviate all kinds of pain. Keep a few in the freezer for instant cold relief. Keep a few in the cabinet near your microwave to be heated up in a jiffy as needed. (Note: Avoid cold packs if your circulation is poor.)
6. Make good use of pain relieving creams and rubs.
There are many high quality, over-the-counter pain relief creams and ointments available today. Choose wisely and follow directions carefully for best results. You may have to experiment with a few as I have found some help certain people while not others. If you live in Australia then try Zen spray……it works for me. If you prefer a topical cream then you might like to try Voltaren Gel. A few of my friends have had some success with it without any nasty side effects.
7. The most important thing you can do to alleviate and manage pain caused by osteoarthritis is to stay active.
When you sit around doing nothing, your bones and joints stiffen up and your muscles will decline in strength from lack of activity. This is the worst possible thing you can do.
So be sure to exercise regularly, even if it does hurt a bit at times. The main thing is, be persistent and don’t try to do too much at once. Don’t force your joints to do things they don’t want to do – just build up gradually by doing a little bit more each week.
Over a five month period I have taken my bung knee from less than 50% flexion to over 90% with just body-weight exercises five to six days a week. The only thing I do suggest here is that you find a trainer who can show you the correct exercises and also how to do them with good form.
If you are looking for a good starting point then some Exercises to Manage Knee Pain can be found at Arthritis Research UK. They also offer some excellent information that will help you understand Osteoarthritis of the knee.
Other things I have found to be helpful are to stretch well when you first wake up in the morning, get everything moving as quickly as possible and the other thing is acupuncture. I have good results with this form of treatment but I find I need about three sessions before the real benefits kick in.
Other than that, rest effectively, eat well as a lot of foods are inflammatory – you need to know what they are so they can be avoided and follow your doctor’s instructions to enjoy life to the fullest, even with osteoarthritis.
If you live anywhere near my area or would like to know more about how acupuncture can help you then contact my go to man: Bruce Viner
Cheers – John – your Active Ageing Mentor and Coach.
P.S. Help a friend……like and share. Thanks.