10 Self-Care Tips to Treat Your OA Pain

Take charge of your OA with these self-management tips to relieve your pain and help you move better. 

1. Take Charge of Your OA Pain
Don’t let pain rule you. Try these expert-recommended methods for easing your pain and taking charge of your arthritis. They can really make a difference in how you feel and function.
2. Lose Weight
Reaching and staying at a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to reduce OA pain. This is especially true if you have OA in the hips or knees. A few pounds will help, but the closer you can get to your ideal bodyweight, the better for your pain and function.
3. Exercise
Everyone with OA should include exercise as a central part of their treatment plan. Whatever type of exercise you enjoy and have access to is the type you should do. Walking, swimming, strength training, aquatic exercise, dancing – whatever floats your boat.
4. Balance Training
Exercises that specifically improve body control and stabilize body position can help with fall prevention for people with OA. These can include standing on one foot or using wobble boards. Body control and balance are often part of other types of exercise, too; like tai chi and yoga.
5. Tai Chi
Tai chi is a traditional mind-body practice that combines meditation with slow movements, deep breathing and relaxation. It can improve your strength, balance, mood and feelings of self-efficacy.
6. Yoga
Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, breathing techniques, and relaxation. Regular practice can help reduce pain, improve joint flexibility and function, lower stress and tension, and promote better sleep.
7. Heat and Cold
Hot packs, heating pads and paraffin wax dips are some options for soothing achy joints with heat. Reduce swelling and numb the pain with ice packs.
8. Capsaicin Cream
Capsaicin, derived from chili peppers, depletes a pain-causing substance in nerves. Common side effects are a burning sensation or skin redness where it is applied. It works best blocking knee pain. It shouldn’t be used for hand OA because of the risk of touching your eyes.
9. Kinesiology Taping
Taping your thumb and/or knees with flexible tape called kinesiology tape can help with pain and stability. This type of taping permits range of motion of the joint, in contrast to a brace, which keeps the joint in a fixed position. You can ask your physical therapist to show you how, or find instructional videos online.
10. Braces, Splints, Canes
If your joints are out of alignment or feel unstable, custom or off-the-shelf braces and splints may help. If you have hip or knee OA that makes it hard to walk, a cane is a good option.
11. Chondroitin Sulfate
Chondroitin sulfate and combination products that include glucosamine have had mixed results in studies. They are not recommended for knee or hip OA. However, chondroitin may be useful for hand pain due to OA. The risks of trying it are low.
12. Self-Care Plus Medical Care
Along with these treatments you can try on your own, there are many medicines and therapies conducted by health professionals you can try.

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