Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis where the cartilage on each end of the bones in a joint has been worn away, leaving bone rubbing on bone. A major factor in arthritis is inflammation causing pain, swelling, heat and redness. While there is no cure, you can make living with osteoarthritis easier.
Different food may be helpful as natural painkillers and anti-inflammatories. Try onion, garlic, ginger, olives, nuts and be liberal with turmeric in cooking. Oily fish have high levels of EPA and DHA which may also reduce inflammation. Foods rick in vitamin C may help develop cartilage and zinc in higher doses can have anti-inflammatory effects. Alkalinizing the body with nuts, seeds and lemon in warm water drinks may help ease symptoms. Maintaining a healthy weight also reduces the load on our joints, so can reduce pain.
Physical activity is essential for general wellbeing and to strengthen the muscles around joints. It can improve knee pain and physical function comparable to that from anti-inflammatory drugs. Choose something you enjoy, favouring low-impact activities such as walking, tai chi, swimming, hydrotherapy, yoga, pilates or cycling.
Relief from medicines and supplements
Trial paracetamol, anti-inflammatories, supplements and rubs individually, for a short period to assess whether they are reducing pain levels. Continue with them if you find they are working. An estimated 60% of people with arthritis use complementary therapies including high dose fish oils, turmeric, glucosamine, boswellia and MSM for their anti-inflammatory properties. Ask our pharmacists if they might be useful for you. However, if pain is treated in isolation, other factors such as trouble sleeping, mood disturbances, muscle conditioning can become bigger problems. Having a team of health professionals (physiotherapist, psychologist, GP, pharmacist) can help to manage osteoarthritis better.
Finally, keep warm in Winter with clothing, blankets and heating. Apply heat packs to sore joints with a little massage. You may find TENS therapy worth a try and ask and accept offers of help when needed. Try home aids such as jar openers, stocking aids and car seat turntables to make everyday activities easier.