Also known as wear and tear arthritis, osteoarthritis is a condition in which natural cushioning between cartilage is damaged. In this condition, the bones of joints rub very closely against each other without any shock absorption of cartilage. The rubbing of bones cause swelling, pain, stiffness, reduced ability to move and the bone spurs may be formed.
For osteoarthritis of the knee, age is the leading risk factor. However, young people may also develop it. It may be hereditary for some people. Knee osteoarthritis can be caused due to infection or injury or even due to excess weight in some people. Here’s what you should know about osteoarthritis of the knee and how to treat symptoms at home.
Who Develops Knee Osteoarthritis?
OA of the knee is the most common kind of arthritis. When it can affect even young people, seniors above 45 years are more vulnerable to osteoarthritis. The Arthritis Foundation reports that around 27 million people have osteoarthritis in the US alone and the knee is one of the most widely affected areas in the body. Women are more vulnerable to develop OA than men.
Here are some of the common symptoms of osteoarthritis –
Home Remedies to Ease OA Symptoms
Here are some of the easiest ways to ease OA on the knees at home.
It must be the last thing you may consider when suffering from arthritis. But there are several studies which claim that physical activity is among the best ways to improve lifestyle quality. Exercise can improve your energy and make your bones and muscles stronger and help your joints to stay flexible. You can build stronger muscles with resistance training. Your muscles support and protect joints that are affected by arthritis. You may try aerobics workouts to lose weight and burn calories. Maintain a healthy weight to relieve stress on your painful joints. But you shouldn’t exercise if you have a bad flare-up until pain reduces.
Lose Excess Weight
Excess of body weight can put unwanted stress on joints that bear weight, such as your spine, knees, ankles, hips, and feet. Weight loss can also ease symptoms. But reducing weight and managing healthy weight cannot be done overnight. You have to take baby steps, make slight changes every day to burn more calories and eat small portions.
According to the studies, there are several nutrients helpful to ease the symptoms of arthritis. Foods enriched with vitamin C, such as vegetables and fruits can be helpful. Fish and fish oil have Omega 3 acids which help relieve pain. According to the experts, you should eat healthy foods instead of focusing on any single nutrient. All you have to go through a balanced diet to receive all the much-needed nutrients. Be sure to add a lot of vegetables and fruits to your menus, such as low-fat dairy, whole grains, lean meats like pork tenderloin and turkey, and fish. You need to choose healthy fats like avocados and nuts, and healthy oils like canola and olive oil.
Take Proper Sleep
Good night’s sleep is very important to deal with stress and pain due to arthritis. Go to sleep every night at the same time to improve your sleep quality. You need to keep distractions like PC and TV away from your bedroom. Use pillows to keep the pressure away from painful joints, if you are not comfortable in bed. Ask your doctor if your sleep problems are not going away.
Try Cold or Hot Compress
Hot packs can ease stiffness and pain to increase blood flow. On the other side, cold packs reduce swelling. You can try both cold and hot packs to find out what works better.
Try Braces, Splints, and Other Aids
These are the devices helpful to support painful joints and to help prevent injury and ease your discomfort. Some of the items like shower chair and electric can openers can be helpful to make your daily life easier.
Take Over-the-Counter Medications
There are some store-bought medications which can help ease the pain. Acetaminophen is one of the most common drugs. It doesn’t cause an upset stomach. Don’t take more dose than recommended as it can increase side effects like liver problems. Some of the other medications can help like ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen sodium. Some of the common side effects are bleeding and stomach irritation. Check labels properly to ensure that you are taking correct medications. Ask your doctor before taking any painkiller for around 10 days.
Ask Your Doctor about Complementary Medicine and Supplements
There are several supplements tested to treat arthritis. Glucosamine is known to show the same promise. Along with chondroitin, glucosamine is helpful to improve pain according to some studies. According to some medical research, SAMe is a chemical in the body which works like some of the store-bought medications. But it needs more research. If you try supplements, you may want to consume them for around a month before getting the complete benefits. People suffering from arthritis may also go for massage and acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture can ease knee pain and help improve knee activity. Massage can improve the flow of blood and warmth in your painful joints. You need to seek a skilled practitioner who is experienced in treating people with arthritis.
Mental outlook can also have a huge impact on your feelings and how well you work. You need to do something you love. Develop enjoyable hobbies that can be done even with arthritis and spend time with your loved ones. Focus on your strengths, not weaknesses. You may want to seek professional support.