Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common forms of arthritis, affecting millions nationwide. This painful, progressive condition often keeps you from participating in daily life, makes it difficult to manage other health problems, and even disrupts your mood and sleeping habits. In other words, osteoarthritis is hardly a joint-only health issue.
And just as the cartilage in your joints wears down over time, so can your hope for symptom relief.
The good news is that when you team up with an expert like Dr. Nikhil Pandhi, you get support and care you can't find anywhere else.
This Arthritis Awareness Month, we want to equip you and others who are frustrated with OA symptoms to find relief and slow the disease’s progression.
Here are a few of our favorite joint-friendly habits you can start doing today.
Moving more may seem counterintuitive when you have joint pain, but it’s essential if you want to relieve your pain and slow the progression of osteoarthritis. Regular exercise keeps your joints flexible, improves your range of motion, and reduces pain and inflammation.
Worried about the impact of harsh workouts on your joints? You aren’t wrong. High-impact activities like running and sports like basketball and tennis are rough on your knees, hips, back, and other joints.
So, consider low-impact activities like swimming, walking, and cycling that give you all the benefits of a high-octane workout while keeping your joints in mind. Before starting a new activity, consult with Dr. Pandhi, and work with us to design an exercise program that works for you.
Carrying excess weight strains your joints, exacerbating pain and inflammation. If you're overweight, we encourage you to shed a few pounds. You don’t have to drop much — losing even a small amount of weight can significantly affect your joint health.
In addition to increasing your activity levels, a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can go a long way in helping you maintain a healthy weight.
When you have osteoarthritis, your joints need all the help they can get. You can protect your joints from further injury by wearing protective and supportive gear like braces when you're being active. Make sure you're also using proper techniques when performing activities that require repetitive motion, like gardening or cleaning.
Stretching is a simple strategy anyone with arthritis can do to improve joint pain. Many of our patients incorporate stretches into their daily routine by making it the first thing they do before getting out of bed in the morning. Find the routine that works best for you and stick to it — we can almost guarantee you'll start to feel better.
Ankle circles, heel/toe lifts, finger walks, thumb circles, and shoulder stretches are just some of the most basic stretches for arthritic joints. If you need more help getting started, Dr. Pandhi and our team can suggest a series of easy and effective stretches you can do at home.
Assistive devices take the pressure off your joints and reduce pain and inflammation. For example, using a cane or walker reduces the strain on your knees and hips, and a splint or brace can help support your joints and reduce pain and inflammation.
If you'd like more information about how to manage arthritis, don't hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone at our Munster, Indiana, office today.