Osteoarthritis: Dealing Day-to-Day

  • Know which treatments work best for you and utilize them
    Knowing which treatments work best for treating your OA is critical to minimizing the pain and inflammation caused by the condition. Obviously, you wouldn't consider surgery for your OA if your condition isn't that serious. Likewise, a treatment such as a hot or cold pack may offer some relief but is not going to resolve severely debilitating pain.

    Many patients, particularly elderly individuals, underreport pain for a variety of reasons. Some patients fear complaints will not be taken seriously. Others believe that adequate pain remedies are simply not available or worry about becoming hooked on painkillers. Though it is true that some physicians do not treat pain sufficiently because they fear that patients will become addicted to pain medications, this shouldn't hold you back from talking to your doctor about what treatments are most appropriate for you and your situation. Injection into the joint with a corticosteroid can also help to reduce pain and improve mobility.

    Taking such steps will help you learn what to expect from your condition, the limitations that may result, and what you can do to ease your OA. It may also help to remember that OA won't be as likely to keep you inactive and away from doing what you love if you treat symptoms of OA in the most effective manner possible .
  • Involve family and friends
    Many people are unaware that they may be at risk for developing OA as they age. You may choose to involve your spouse in your new routine to minimize OA. Having a companion will also make those walks or bike rides more meaningful and enjoyable than they would be otherwise. Plus you'll both be doing something to help yourselves look and feel better.
  • Don't get frustrated
    If the pain and inconvenience of OA has gotten you down, don't blame yourself. There are many disorders over which the individual has little or no control. Consider yourself lucky that OA is not one of them. Though OA can be a pain at times, most individuals with the condition are able to live full, healthy lives with little or no compromise. By working with your doctor, sticking with treatments that work best for you and keeping a positive attitude, you should be able to overcome the obstacles OA throws your way.
  • Reviewed by Vikas Garg, M.D., MSA

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