Osteoarthritis is a painful and extremely common condition involving degeneration of the joints. Here physiotherapist Rob Satchell outlines simple drug free ways to help manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Over 1 million people in Australia are affected by osteoarthritis (OA). It most commonly affects the hips, knees, fingers and lower back. The most common symptoms of OA include joint pain, stiffness (especially in the morning) and swelling. OA develops when the cartilage that sits in the joints breaks down.
There is currently no cure for OA, however there are many treatments that can decrease your pain and improve the quality of your life.
Here we outline 4 drug free ways to help you manage your arthritis:
Water based exercise:
Exercising in water takes the pressure of your joints. In waist deep water there is approximately half the weight going through your joints compared to when you are on land. In a recent study, people who undertook regular hydrotherapy for 12 weeks experienced significantly decreased pain and improved ability to do their daily tasks.
Gentle exercise stimulates the production of synovial fluid within the joints. Synovial fluid is your joints natural lubricant, helping to keep your joints moving smoothly. Walking and cycling are two of the best types of exercise to start with. Your local physiotherapist can design a safe exercise program containing specific strengthening and mobility exercises that will help keep your joints mobile and strong.
Losing weight is perhaps the most effective way to take the strain off your joints. Regular exercise and a balanced diet are the keys. A dietitian can help you develop a safe and effective diet to complement your exercise regime.
Many people with osteoarthritis find that heat packs or hot water bottles help. The heat increases blood flow to the area helping decrease stiffness and pain, allowing you to more easily do your daily tasks and perform your exercises.
Osteoarthritis can be debilitating. Start taking steps towards managing it without the need for drugs.