By age 70—in many cases, even younger—most people will be experiencing a certain degree of osteoarthritis. That means joint pain and stiffness, particularly in the morning, and painful swelling at the joints that can restrict your activity and lessen your quality of life.
While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are some treatments that can help you get your full range of motion back. There are lifestyle changes as well as medical approaches that can help. Your doctor can help you create an arthritis treatment plan.
Here are some effective measures against osteoarthritis:
- Losing weight can help in some cases, since being overweight can trigger or exacerbate osteoarthritis.
- Exercise might sound painful, but people say it produces results. Aerobics and strength training can help alleviate the pain and lessen it when it comes back.
- Alternating heat and cold, using, for example, warmed towels and ice packs, can help ease some of the pain.
- Massage treatments can help relax your joints and ease the pain.
- Pain management classes can help you develop skills and techniques to essentially psych yourself out of pain.
- Acetaminophen and NSAIDs are over-the-counter medications that relieve pain, including arthritis pain; NSAIDs also fight inflammation, though older patients are especially prone to complications.
- Prescription painkillers can be effective on severe pain, though there is a risk of dependence. This is a relatively small concern in elderly patients, however.
- Cortisone shots can relieve pain, but long-term use can damage your joints.
- Hyaluronic acid replacement can be used for osteoarthritis of the knee. Hyaluronic acid is the main component of natural joint fluid that is diminished in arthritis.
Your doctor can help you find the best way to deal with your arthritis. You don’t have to live with the chronic pain.