Glossary On Coping with Osteoarthritis

Dealing with the pain of Osteoarthritis

Small changes in the lifestyle can go a long way in helping you to deal with your illness. Living with osteoarthritis may not be all that easy but you can give it your best shot to lead a pain-free life.

As with the medical treatment, the goals of lifestyle changes are:

  • To reduce pain
  • To improve mobility

Based on our experience of treating a large number of patients at Dr. Batra's in the last 35 years, we have seen that certain modifications in diet and lifestyle are very helpful for our patients. These have been clinically verified time and again and have a scientific backing as well:

  • Increase antioxidant nutrients (found in fruits & vegetables) in your daily diet
  • Essential fats (such as those in flaxseeds, oily fish, walnuts) help to control inflammation and must be included in diet
  • Herbs such as curcumin are good for reducing inflammation
  • Fresh pineapple has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties
  • Avoid adrenal stimulants such as tea, coffee, sugar and refined carbohydrates
  • Avoid carbonated drinks such as coke, pepsi etc. due to their phosphoric acid content
  • Maintain a health weight: Being overweight is one of the commonest triggers of knee pain; reduce your weight if you are obese and maintain it if you are average.
  • Exercise regularly: This is especially useful if you have knee OA. Exercising strengthens the leg muscles that support the knee and they absorb shock before it gets to the knee. However, the exercises must be learnt and done under the supervision of a physiotherapist. Exercises also help to maintain a proper posture which is very helpful in the long run.
  • Wearing comfortable footwear, preferably cushioned ones, helps a lot since they properly support your weight especially if you have OA affecting your knees, hips or spine.
  • Be regular with your medicines: Don’t wait for pain to peak before seeking any help.
  • Be gentle in your movements, don’t exert any of your joint too much or put excessive pressure on any joint.
  • Try hot or cold compresses on the affected joint. In an acutely inflamed joint, avoid hot compresses.
  • Splints and braces can be used to support weakened joints.
  • Water exercises, such as swimming, are especially helpful in some cases.
  • Be observant about things that worsen your condition and try to avoid the same. In a similar manner, keep a watch for things that give you relief from pain and continue to pursue these.