HOME > Health & Fitness >


Written by in Health & Fitness on the

6 Simple Ways to Manage Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common joint condition that affects people across the globe. In fact, the World Health Organization suggests 528 million people were living with OA in 2019, and that instances of this have increased 113% since 1990. Both men and women can get osteoarthritis but it does tend to be more common in women. OA happens as a result of wear and tear as we age and causes swelling and pain in the affected joint(s). If you're someone that plays sports or if you're always active, there's a chance this will affect your quality of life more than others. Understanding how to effectively manage OA is crucial to maintaining your activity level and quality of life, but to also better your lifestyle without causing any type of injuries. Here, we take a look at some simple ways to manage osteoarthritis.

What Is Osteoarthritis? 

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that gradually gets worse over time. It can occur at any given point and can affect any joint in the body, but most frequently impacts the hips, knees, and hands. The pain is caused when the cartilage that cushions the ends of our bones wears down over time; bony growths can also develop. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility in the affected joints. The good news is that there are different treatments and exercises you can use to manage the pain and improve your quality of life. If you think you may have symptoms of osteoarthritis (pain and stiffness after being inactive, a grating sensation in the joint, swelling and tenderness in the affected joint(s)), it's important to consult a rheumatologist. They can provide a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your needs. Check out this rheumatologist in London for an accurate diagnosis.

Ways To Manage Osteoarthritis 

1. Remain active

Exercise is key to managing OA, but it's important to choose the right types of exercise to avoid overwhelming your body or risking further damage to the joints. Here are some rheumatologist-approved options: 

A) Stretching and yoga are good flexibility exercises that can help you maintain your range of motion. 

B) Aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming, and martial arts can help alleviate joint pain. 

C) Strength training will help you build muscle around the joints so they are better supported. It also has the added benefit of making you stronger and benefitting all the bodily systems. 

2. Avoid high-impact exercises 

High-impact exercises can exacerbate OA symptoms and contribute to the damage in the joints – especially if it’s load-bearing joints like your knees or hips that are affected. Stick to low-impact exercises where possible, like walking, swimming, and cycling, which are gentle on the joints. Although moving your joints when they hurt may sound counter-intuitive, it actually helps to lubricate the cartilage and can have a positive impact on stiffness and pain in the affected joints. 

3. Keep your weight at a healthy level 

Weight is an important factor in managing joint pain from osteoarthritis – particularly when it comes to the knees and hips. Being overweight can add additional pressure or strain on your joints so it’s essential to try and maintain a healthy weight. Losing even a small amount of weight can significantly reduce the stress put through the joints and alleviate pain while making you feel better overall. If you are looking to reduce your weight, you can focus on a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and wholegrains to help achieve and maintain a healthy weight. This should be combined with moderate exercise for an overall balanced approach. 

4. Work on your posture 

Good posture and body mechanics can help to avoid any unnecessary joint strain and pain. When sitting, use chairs with good back support and keep your feet flat on the floor. It's also a good idea to invest good money in your chosen office equipment, such as your desk and your chair. Avoid slouching and keeping your back straight is really important – especially for office-based jobs where you are seated for the majority of the time. When lifting objects, use your legs to lift rather than your back. Little by little, these small changes will help you maintain better posture. 

5. Incorporate strength training 

Strength training is a vital part of supporting your joints and reducing pain. Why? Strength training builds muscles around your joints, which can help to provide better support. Focus on exercises that target the major muscle groups without overloading the joints too much. If you don;t mind attending the gym, you can use free weights and weight machines. If you prefer to exercise in the privacy of your own home, what you can do is incorporate small bits of equipment, such as: Resistance bands, Dumbbells, and Pilates balls. Start slowly and gradually increase intensity, ideally with guidance from a physical therapist for safety – especially if you are not familiar with strength training. 

6. Hot and cold therapy 

Hot and cold therapy is thought to contribute to pain relief, which can be beneficial for OA symptoms. This is a quick and easy solution you can turn to even when at home. Use a warm towel or heating pad to relax the muscles and increase blood flow, reducing pain and stiffness. Cold packs can reduce inflammation and numb the painful area. Alternating between heat and cold can be particularly effective for your joints. Just make sure you wrap the heat and cold packs in something first so you don’t burn your skin.

What's the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis? 

It's important to differentiate between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Although they sound similar, they are caused by different conditions, have different effects on the body, and – most importantly – require a different approach to treatment. OA is caused by wear and tear on the joints, while rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder where the body's immune system attacks the joints, leading to inflammation and joint damage. Autoimmune disorders are usually harder to treat, but a good rheumatologist will be able to diagnose accurately, and get you on the path to recovery and managing your condition effectively. 

What you need to know about the prevalence of osteoarthritis in the UK 

According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) around 8.75 million people in the UK have sought treatment for osteoarthritis. This highlights the widespread nature of the condition and the importance of early diagnosis and effective treatment. If you are worried you may have symptoms of OA, the best thing you can do is to seek guidance from a rheumatologist. Including Vitapost Collagen in your daily routine can further support your joint health, providing an added layer of protection and relief from osteoarthritis symptoms.

previous post
next post