The Osteoarthritis Self-Care Guide: Everything You Need to Know

December, 06 2023 8 min read
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There are numerous risk factors that increase the likelihood of experiencing knee osteoarthritis in seniors. Risk factors like repetitive use of joints, intense exercise, obesity, joint injury, nutritional deficiencies, and high blood glucose levels can be dealt with using self-care treatment options in the earlier stages of the disease. Self-care treatment options for knee osteoarthritis include lifestyle changes, joint load-reducing interventions, oral supplements, and pain management techniques. Lifestyle changes involve gentle exercise and weight loss to improve joint stability and reduce strain. Joint load-reducing interventions include braces, footwear, and walking aids to alleviate pain and enhance mobility. Oral supplements such as vitamins, minerals, and herbal remedies may offer benefits, while pain management interventions encompass topical treatments and oral medications.

Understanding teoarthritis and the importance of self-care?

Knee osteoarthritis is a common condition that may affect many senior patients. It is a degenerative joint disease that primarily affects the cartilage1 in the knee joint, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Discover the transformative power of self-care on your osteoarthritis journey with AGEasy by Antara. Our comprehensive guide is designed to equip you with practical tools, insights, and personalized strategies that empower you to take control of your well-being. Whether it's managing symptoms, maintaining mobility, or nurturing emotional health, our self-care guide is your roadmap to a life of comfort and vitality.

Self-care treatment has various associated benefits. It helps with pain management and weight maintenance. It also helps with improved joint function and thereby reduces the dependency on others for normal movements. Apart from maintaining the psychological well-being, self care treatments enhance the effectiveness of the medical treatment.

What are the different self-care treatment options?

To start self-care treatment of osteoarthritis, you should follow some steps under the guidance of a healthcare professional. These steps include educating yourself about osteoarthritis and learning to manage its symptoms (pain and inflammation) independently. By making lifestyle changes like gentle physical activity, doing therapeutic exercises, and managing your weight if needed, you can significantly and positively improve your condition and quality of life. The self-care treatment options help manage the symptoms of the disease in the initial stages, which eventually helps delay the disease progression and thereby reduces the chances of surgery requirement.

These self-care interventions for osteoarthritis fall into four categories - lifestyle changes, joint load-reducing interventions, use of oral supplements, and pain management interventions - are often considered the first line of defense against knee OA.

  1. Lifestyle Changes:

Exercise: Gentle physical activity is beneficial for strengthening the muscles around your joints and improving joint stability. There are different kinds of exercises that can be beneficial for seniors. These exercises include activities that strengthen muscles and improve resistance. Doing exercises that get your heart pumping for better cardiovascular health, exercises that help with coordination and balance, yoga, swimming and other low intensity workouts are helpful with osteoarthritis. These exercises can be done two to three times a week. However, in case of discomfort, take sufficient rest and then continue.

Weight Loss: Excess weight strains weight-bearing joints like the knees and hips. Even a tiny amount of weight loss can significantly reduce pressure on these joints and alleviate pain. Consulting a qualified dietitian can help you explore healthy methods for losing weight. Losing 5 kilograms of weight in an overweight person can potentially decrease the risk of knee osteoarthritis (OA) by 50% and reduce the amount of pressure on the knee joint by 18.15 kilograms. In the IDEA trial (Intensive Diet and Exercise for Arthritis), participants with knee OA who were overweight and managed to lose a moderate amount of weight (10% of their body weight) through a combination of diet and exercise, experienced a 50% decrease in pain scores associated with their condition.

2. Joint Load Reducing Interventions:

Braces and Sleeves: Knee braces and sleeves effectively manage knee osteoarthritis pain. These supports can relieve pain by redistributing weight away from the most affected knee area. Wearing a knee brace or sleeve can also enhance mobility and enable more comfortable walking over longer distances.

Footwear and Insoles: Special footwear and shoe insoles can help minimize the impact on your knee joint while walking. These can reduce strain and alleviate discomfort, especially for individuals who long stand on hard surfaces like wood or concrete floors.

Walking Aids: If you experience pain, difficulties, or instability due to knee and hip osteoarthritis, using a walking aid can significantly improve your comfort and mobility. Canes and walkers provide support and stability, reducing the strain on your joints and making walking more manageable.

3. Use of Oral Supplements:

Vitamins and Minerals: Certain vitamins and minerals are necessary for healthy joints, and in most cases, the daily required intake is not attained due to improper diet habits. To ensure fulfilling these essentials, additional Vitamin D, Vitamin K2, Magnesium, and Calcium intake is recommended for maintaining joint health. These vitamins are available in the market as multivitamin supplements in capsules and tablet forms.

Antara has recently Launched “Expert Joint Care Vitamins” product for osteoarthritis patients which is to be taken only once daily. This product is suitable for both men and women.

Supplements: Various supplements help reduce inflammation and associated joint pain. Several ingredients show these effects, including turmeric (curcumin), glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane), boswellia (shallaki), collagen, ginger extract, and pepper, which have been widely studied for their potential benefits in reducing knee OA symptoms. There are several products available in the market which provide different combination of these supplements. However not all of them are scientifically backed and have correct dose and combination of ingredients. Overcoming these bottlenecks, Antara has recently launched a range of multivitamins and nutraceutical supplements in powder and capsule form to be taken once daily. These products include Expert Joint Care Comfort-G (Glucosamine sulphate, Turmeric and Boswellia powder), Expert Joint Care Comfort (Turmeric, Boswellia, Cucumber and pepper extract powder) and Expert Joint Care Advanced ( Collagen and Hyaluronic acid powder).

4. Pain Management Interventions:

Topical Treatments: There are several topical treatments available for pain management, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)2, capsaicin, salicylates, counterirritants, and anesthetics. These can provide localized relief and are applied directly to the affected area.

Oral Medications: Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your healthcare provider may recommend oral medications. These can include selective NSAIDs (COX-2 inhibitors), non-selective NSAIDs, paracetamol (acetaminophen), and, in some instances, narcotics like tramadol or opioids. Always follow your healthcare provider's guidance when taking these medications.

Assistive Devices: Various assistive devices, such as thermotherapy, ultrasound, muscle (TENS) stimulators, laser therapy, and electrotherapy, can be part of a comprehensive pain management plan. These modalities can help reduce pain and improve joint function.

Osteoarthritis doesn't have to dictate one's quality of life. By embracing a holistic approach to self-care, individuals can effectively manage their symptoms, maintain joint function, and continue to lead fulfilling lives. From adopting a healthy lifestyle and staying physically active to seeking psychological support and utilizing assistive devices, the journey to managing osteoarthritis is about taking charge of one's health and well-being. Remember, each person's experience with osteoarthritis is unique, so it's important to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a personalized self-care plan that addresses specific needs and challenges.

Visit Antara’s Health studio to get more details on Self-Care plan or call us +919911789911 to know more about Antara’s newly launched range of products.

Glossary:

  1. Cartilage: A smooth and flexible tissue that cushions and protects the ends of bones in joints.
  2. NSAIDs: A therapeutic drug class which reduces pain, decreases inflammation, decreases fever, and prevents blood clots

References

  1. https://www.statpearls.com/ArticleLibrary/viewarticle/35395
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22112180/
  3. https://curqlifeusa.com/pages/clinical-studies
  4. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07315724.2021.2014370
  5. https://www.medicinenet.com/boswellia/article.htm
  6. https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/more-about/calcium-needs-for-people-with-arthritis
  7. https://josr-online.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13018-021-02728-4
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6413222/#:~:text=Vitamin%20D%20is%20known%20to,osteoporosis%20and%20fracture%20%5B1%5D.
  9. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/#:~:text=Approximately%2030%25%20to%2040%25%20of,body%20%5B2%2C9%5D.
  10. https://examine.com/supplements/type-ii-collagen/