Relieve joint pain – treat osteoarthritis by yourself

Osteoarthritis is a public health issue that affects the joints of one in four people over 45 years of age. Osteoarthritis increases stiffness and pain, and it also reduces mobility. In many cases, the disease can cause so many problems that you may be forced to take sick leave from work. There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but studies have shown that exercising can prevent and alleviate symptoms. However, it isn’t always easy to perform the exercises or the osteoarthritis therapy because the pain makes the affected person want to sit still. In these cases, the pain must be alleviated before training can begin. Want to know more about how to relieve joint pain and treat osteoarthritis from home? Keep reading!

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Why training works to treat osteoarthritis

The most common reason for osteoarthritis to develop is that the joints have been exposed to excessive strain over a longer period of time. This may have occurred through monotonous, repetitive motions or due to previous joint injuries or excess weight. When we talk about being overweight, we don’t mean being overweight in the traditional sense. Instead, we mean having more weight than the muscles can bear. Hence, it is more important to be strong than to be thin.

Guided training exercises are the best, proven method for relieving osteoarthritis symptoms. This is where in-home exercises designed for osteoarthritis can help. These exercises help to stimulate the the repair of cartilage and also to strengthen the muscles around the joint. This allows the muscles to take the pressure off the joint. Combined, this can reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Read more about how and why training works to treat osteoarthritis

Why training and exercise is important for treating osteoarthritis

We used to believe that osteoarthritis was caused by worn out joints. Since the joints were “worn out”, the best thing for the patient to do was to keep still to avoid further impacting the joints. Even today, people with osteoarthritis are often less active than the rest of the population. However, physical inactivity makes osteoarthritis worse because the body will not repair a joint that is not used.  This inactivity can potentially also lead to both obesity and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, exercise and physical activity is not just important for reducing joint pain, but also for staying healthy in general.

Treating osteoarthritis in a group or on your own with in-home exercises

If you suspect that you are suffering from osteoarthritis, you should have this confirmed by a physician or physiotherapist. There are also many patient education programs throughout Sweden, and you do not need a referral to attend. At the arthritis patient education program, you can meet with a physiotherapist, who will help you create a training program with exercises. These exercises can be performed either in a group or at home.

Following a training program created by a physiotherapist is an important part of treating osteoarthritis. The physiotherapist can observe how the affected person moves and help them correct any poor postures. The training program is also designed to strain the joints just enough. Hence, doing training exercises for osteoarthritis is not dangerous, even if it can be painful sometimes.

Pain-relieving medications as a supplemental osteoarthritis treatment

If you are treating osteoarthritis on your own, pain relief is often the first step. This is often necessary to make exercising and training even possible. Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease, so it is important to find pain-relieving medications that do not have too many negative effects on the rest of the body. You should first try a low dose and see if that is sufficient. Never exceed the medication’s recommended dose.

In most cases, non-prescription medications for pain relief are enough. Medications in the NSAID category, i.e. anti-inflammatory medications provide the best effect. However, non-prescription, anti-inflammatory, pain relievers are only for treating temporary pain and discomfort. For long-term treatment, training and exercise produces the best effect.

Osteoarthritis treatment – summary

Osteoarthritis treatment in the form of self-directed training and exercise can occur in many different ways. However, it is important to first get advice and a customized training program from a physiotherapist. This can be obtained from an arthritis patient education program, a physiotherapist or the Joint Academy app. But it is important to alleviate the pain first. Once the pain has become manageable, it is important to perform the exercises correctly so that the muscles or joints are not overstrained.

Read more about exercise for osteoarthritis.