Reduce joint pain with lifestyle changes

There is currently no medicine to cure osteoarthritis. Pain-relieving medicines can only provide temporary relief. Operations are also an option, but they should only be seen as a last resort. The osteoarthritis treatment which gives the best results in the long term is a combination of exercise, education, weight control and lifestyle changes. This type of treatment can help a majority of sufferers become essentially pain-free.

Osteoarthritis treatment should start with the patient

Living with osteoarthritis does not always mean you have a poor quality of life. By implementing the lifestyle changes recommended by both National Board of Health and Welfare in Sweden as well as international organizations, many sufferers can essentially eradicate their symptoms. In order to maintain this new lifestyle in the long-term, however, it is important to adapt the changes to individual needs. Diet can have a significant impact, as can daily exercise and customized training. However, it can be difficult to make all these changes at the same time. Sometimes, therefore, it can be better to take one step at a time.

Excess weight causes more strain on the joints and muscles, so a new diet is beneficial if it helps someone carrying a few extra pounds to lose weight. This not only reduces the strain on the affected joints, it also prevents osteoarthritis from developing in other parts of the body. Both exercise and weight reduction are essentially ways to reduce the strain on your joints. At the same time, the muscles around the affected joints should be strengthened.

Training as treatment to reduce joint pain

The correct form of training stimulates the growth of the building blocks of cartilage and the damaged articular cartilage can repair itself. This means that regular training can have an impact as both treatment and prevention. The muscles that are built up through strength training, for example, also relieve the affected joints making them more able to support the strain. In many cases, training also leads to weight loss, which also reduces the strain on the joints.

The importance of diet

In terms of food, there is no specifically designed diet for osteoarthritis. Instead, there are generally healthy recommendations: avoid alcohol and sugar, reduce the intake of red meat, fat and semi-manufactured products and replace them with whole grain instead of white flour and eat fruit and vegetables. Changing your diet can have a significant impact on the treatment of osteoarthritis, both in terms of general health and potential weight loss. However, the most important thing is to find changes that suit the patient to make the changes sustainable.

Pain as part treating joint pain

Physical activity is healthy and is recommended for people in general. However, for people who suffer from osteoarthritis it is particularly important to take exercise. Suffering from osteoarthritis can be painful and exhausting, causing many sufferers to give up on exercise. However, there is no risk provided the pain remains at an acceptable level. It is simply important to carry on in spite of the pain.

Training exercises that are seen as appropriate to treat osteoarthritis depend on which joint is affected and how the disease is experienced. We all experience pain differently and some joints are more painful than others. In the case of osteoarthritis in the hip joints, for example, movement training is recommended, but for osteoarthritis in the knees, muscle building exercises may be more suitable. However, regardless of the joint affected, everyday exercise is a good way of keeping your joints moving.

Overview of osteoarthritis treatment

Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease for which there is currently no cure. However, there are many things you can do to prevent and alleviate the symptoms, both individually and in consultation with a specialist. These things mainly concern changing and improving your lifestyle. This is the particularly the case for sufferers who are overweight and/or have less healthy nutrition and exercise habits. Seeking help at an early stage and getting instructor-led training with the help of the physiotherapist is generally very important.

Read more about exercises that relieve osteoarthritis.