Pain in your body is a signal that something is wrong. If the pain is acute, it can be dealt with quickly and will be over soon, but if it’s chronic, the pain is long-lasting and will require different strategies.
Such is the case for people who suffer from osteoarthritis. In this condition, your cartilage — a soft substance that cushions your joints — deteriorates over time, causing your bones to rub against each other. When the bones collide, this causes pain, stiffness, and discomfort.
While there’s no cure for osteoarthritis (yet), the experienced team at Physician’s Medical Primary Care often recommends certain steps to alleviate the pain and discomfort you’re feeling. Here are four smart ways to reduce your osteoarthritis pain.
You might think that exercise and movement would be the last thing you want to do with osteoarthritis, but the opposite is true. Regular exercise is great medicine for osteoarthritis. It boosts your energy, strengthens your muscles and bones, and keeps your joints flexible. Another benefit is that exercise helps you lose weight, reducing the pressure your body puts on your joints. Talk to a physical therapist to determine which exercises will work well with your specific condition.
Hot treatments will increase blood flow to the affected area, which eases your stiffness and pain. Cold treatments reduce the swelling and numb the area, decreasing pain. Use each treatment for only 15-20 minutes at a time, and then let your skin return to its regular temperature before you try another treatment.
You can experiment with the times and amount of treatments to see what works best to ease the pain in your situation. Hot treatments could include a bath, shower, or whirlpool, or you could try an electric blanket, heating pad, or hot pack. Cold treatments can include a cold pack or ice bag.
Sleeping well can have a big effect on your osteoarthritis. Good sleep can restore your energy and give your joints a rest, reducing your pain and swelling. Listen to your body — it will let you know when you need more sleep. If you have trouble sleeping well, work on developing a good wind-down routine in the evening and building an environment conducive to good rest.
Changing your diet to include certain nutrients can also help reduce your symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acids can help, as can foods rich in Vitamin C, such as fruits and vegetables. The best plan is to follow a balanced diet to get all the nutrients you need. This should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy. Healthy fats like nuts and avocados can also help. A healthy diet can also help you lose weight, which can ease your pain as well.
If you want more help managing your osteoarthritis pain, the Physicians Medical Primary Care team is here to help. Just call any of our three offices or use the “book online” button to schedule an appointment at a time that suits you. We can reduce your pain soon!