As we get older, many of us start to notice pain in our joints when going about our daily lives. For many people, this is the first sign of osteoarthritis, a disease that affects more than five million Canadians. Luckily, with proper treatment, it’s possible to live a healthy and active life despite a diagnosis of osteoarthritis. Here’s what you need to know about the disease and how to manage it.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It causes the breakdown of cartilage, an elastic material that protects the ends of your bones. This causes joints to become inflamed, causing pain and swelling. It can affect any joint in your body, but is most common in the knees, hips, wrists, fingers and spine.
How to manage osteoarthritis on a daily basis.
The symptoms of osteoarthritis can vary depending on the person and the affected joint, but here are some things you can do to help keep your pain to a minimum:
Stay active. Low impact exercise will help strengthen your muscles and reduce stiffness in your joints. Cycling, walking, swimming and yoga are all good options.
Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying extra weight increases stress on your weight-bearing joints. Even a small amount of weight loss can help relieve the pressure on your joints and reduce your pain.
Protect your joints. Make sure to avoid staying in one position for too long, rest when your body tells you it needs it and use assistive devices when necessary. Things like jar openers and long-handled cleaning tools make everyday tasks easier, which reduces the strain on your joints.
Visit your doctor regularly. Your doctor’s role goes far beyond diagnosis. They should suggest regular visits to monitor the progression of your arthritis. In addition, it’s important to work with them to develop a treatment plan that works for you, for instance by adjusting your medication if needed.
Regular physical therapy. A physical therapist will work with you to create a personalized exercise program to strengthen the muscles around your joints, reduce pain and increase your range of motion.
Osteoarthritis treatment in Ottawa
Don’t let the pain of osteoarthritis stop you from enjoying life. The physical therapists at Ottawa-Carleton Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Center in Ottawa will work with you to create a treatment plan that works for you. Call us today to make an appointment.