Health statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show that over 1.8 million Australians have been suffering from osteoarthritis. This chronic degenerative disease of the joints, being the most common type of arthritis or joint inflammation in Australia, causes joint pain and stiffness resulting to decreased mobility or even disability. Like any other health problem, osteoarthritis decreases the overall quality of life of an affected individual.
Osteoarthritis has no known cure but a lot of treatment options are available to address its highly undesirable and inconvenient symptoms. With proper lifestyle adjustments and religious adherence to recommended health practices and preventative measures, a person with such life-long joint problems can lead a balanced, healthy and active life.
Take control over osteoarthritis before it takes control over you. Here are highly recommended lifestyle modifications you can start integrating into your daily routines to help you live a better and more harmonious life even with such condition.
Proper weight management
Achieving a healthy body mass index prevents extra strain that may be put on joints if you are overweight. Gradually shedding off those excess pounds will lighten the load your bones have to support, especially the hip and knee joints that carry most of our body weight. To attain this, a well-regulated diet and exercise regimen under a health professional’s supervision must be observed, to avoid nutrient deficiencies and body injuries that may result from lack of professional consultation.
Right diet and supplementation
Diet is always an issue in most, if not all health problems. There’s always the “do’s and don’ts.” Start eating larger portions of fruits and vegetables since they can provide your body a good dose of natural vitamins and minerals. Food rich in Vitamin C and D and Omega-3 fatty acids are generally helpful against joint pain and swelling. Food high in sugar and salt, especially processed food that contain preservatives and other unhealthy chemicals are bad for your joints. They can trigger joint inflammation and are generally fattening which make them bad for your overall health as well.
Make sure to also drink lots of water to keep your body hydrated. Nutritional supplements such as glucosamine are also helpful. Glucosamine is widely used for osteoarthritis as it is known to slow the progression of the disease and decreases the pain it causes. Always consult your doctor regarding diet and supplementation.
Regular exercise and proper management of physical activities
There are specific exercises recommended to prevent or lessen the occurrence and severity of joint inflammation. Make sure to consult your physician or physiotherapist so you won’t end up straining your joints instead. Avoid highly strenuous exercises and activities such as long jogs and weight-bearing routines. If you are used to being physically active, start regulating your activities.
Exercises for patients with osteoarthritis come in different levels and the progression is better determined by an expert. If you have already mastered your routines and have practiced well enough to correctly assess yourself, your physician may let you exercise on your own.
Adherence to prescribed medication and health regimen
As already stated, no medication can cure osteoarthritis but a lot of medicines have been formulated to treat its troubling and painful symptoms. These medications have to be maintained to prevent occurrence of severe pain and inflammation. However, maintenance of medication does not guarantee pain and inflammation won’t occur. A lot of factors, such as diet and activity, can affect the occurrence and severity of the symptoms of such disease. Make sure to stick to your health regimen as recommended. Do not skip therapies, visit your doctor regularly, and always be mindful of your diet, activity and other habits that can affect your treatment.
Sufficient rest and sleep
Make sure to get enough rest. Don’t tire yourself out too much. Osteoarthritis can be triggered by elevated stress levels brought by fatigue and lack of sleep. Even with other health conditions, stress and body fatigue are all-time triggering factors so, as much as possible, stay away from these culprits.
Complementary and alternative medicine
There are many ways to augment regular medical interventions that you may try. It is still highly advisable to ask your physician about natural medicine and physical treatments, instead of solely relying on your instincts. Common alternative treatments are directed at relaxing your mind and body, lessening the occurrence of triggering factors and reducing the muscle cramps, spasm and pain associated with osteoarthritis. Examples are acupuncture and massage. Also, there are natural health products you can use to better manage the pain and inflammation. Magnesium oil, for instance, is widely used as a topical pain reliever. Some massage therapists who specialise in massaging arthritic joints are using magnesium oil as a natural substance for pain relief.
Positive attitude towards health and life
Your thoughts can affect how your body responds to treatment and how you cope with whatever health problem you have. Once you maintain a positive outlook towards life’s circumstances, all positive things in your surrounding will be magnified, and you will see the beauty of relishing each and every moment of your existence. This can have a huge impact on your quality of life, how you manage your pain and the effectiveness of your medication and other therapies.