One of the most common things we deal with as a result of wear and tear over time is osteoarthritis (OA). There are many different types of arthritis, but OA (deterioration of cartilage in the joints) is by far the most common, affecting almost 2 million Australians.
“Arthritis is more common in women than men”
There are a lot of misconceptions around arthritis, with many people believing they are no longer able to do the things they love. Whilst some activities need to be modified, for most people this simply isn’t true!
Here are our physio’s top tips for managing your OA:
Become active in your treatment and management of osteoarthritis. Do this by increasing your knowledge of condition and best way to manage symptoms. Unfortunately, there is no cure for osteoarthritis and not all the information you read can be trustworthy, Don’t rely on Doctor Google. In fact there are many fad treatment options which can be quite expensive. Therefore, it is best to consult your GP or other healthcare professional to give you the best up to date information surrounding arthritis.
Staying active! Exercise has been proven to reduce arthritic symptoms such as pain, stiffness and loss of function. Getting out and becoming active is essential if you are wanting to reduce these symptoms and promote healthier, stronger and more flexible joints. How does exercise do this you ask? Well Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the cartilage or smooth lining of bones wears away and in severe cases can lead to bone on bone grinding, Ouch. Now, every joint contains a natural lubricant called ‘synovial fluid’, this fluid greases the joints much like WD40 frees a squeaky door hinge. As we exercise more, our bodies produce more of this natural fluid and therefore reduce the friction within by providing a smoother gliding surface.
A targeted exercise regime designed by a physiotherapist of exercise physiologist can improve your strength to better support your joints, make you more flexible and boost your cardiac and respiratory health and significantly decrease the nasty symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Lose weight and maintain a healthy diet. No diet will cure osteoarthritis but maintaining a healthy body weight and nourishing foods are proven to boost energy levels and take loads off, already painful joints.
Learn ways to rest and remain active when there is a flare up, for example prolonged sitting can lead to joint stiffening, so remind yourself to continually get up and move about or move your limbs repeatably if walking about is not an option. Choose high level chairs to sit on too as there is nothing worse than getting stuck in a low-level chair!