Osteoarthritis; Lifestyle Tips

Osteoarthritis; Lifestyle Tips

* Heat and cold for painful joints

Moist heat can help temporarily ease pain and stiffness and relax your muscles, to give you a good start to the day or make it easier to sleep at night. Try taking a bath or shower both in the morning and evening, or apply warm towels or hot packs for about 15 minutes. Cold treatments may help joints that have been overstressed (but don’t use if you have poor circulation). One easy way is to use a bag of loose, frozen peas, wrapped in a towel. Apply for no more than 10 to 15 minutes.

* How the new drugs work to relieve pain

You’ve probably heard about one or more of the newer medications now prescribed to treat osteoarthritis, adult rheumatoid arthritis and acute pain: Celebrex, Bextra and Vioxx. These nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are known as COX-2 inhibitors because they inhibit an enzyme called COX-2, which triggers pain and inflammation, while sparing an enzyme called COX-1, which helps maintain stomach lining. The COX-2 inhibitors and the over-the-counter pain relief drug naproxen came under fire by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in late 2004, as several clinical trials involving COX-2 inhibitors revealed increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Vioxx was voluntarily removed from the market by its manufacturer in late 2004 after studies indicated an increased risk of heart attack and stroke associated with the medication. In early April 2005, the FDA asked Pfizer, Inc., to withdraw Bextra from the market because the overall risk versus benefit profile for the drug is unfavorable, and to include a boxed warning about potential health risks in the label of its drug Celebrex. Other manufacturers of all other prescription NSAIDs are being asked to revise their labels to include the same boxed warning highlighting the potential for increased risk of cardiovascular (CV) events and gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding associated with their use.

* Exercise to keep knee pain from slowing you down

To keep osteoarthritis of the knee from interfering with your daily activities, maintain a light exercise regimen-and stick to it faithfully. Light aerobic exercise (walking for 1 hour three times a week) or mild weight training can improve your chances of preventing arthritis progression and maintaining a normal lifestyle by about 50 percent. For best results, be persistent about maintaining your exercise regimen. Be sure to consult your health care professional to make sure this regimen is the best choice for you.

* Don’t let diet news confuse

Cover all bases by sticking to a healthy weight-loss or -maintenance diet with well-balanced, not excessive, vitamin and mineral supplements. Don’t overdo even with “natural” nutrients. For example, vitamin E, a naturally occurring antioxidant found in grains, nuts and oils, may help prevent development or worsening of knee osteoarthritis – but does not appear to be much of a pain reliever, as previously thought. At the same time, too much of it could increase the risk of bleeding in those taking anti-bleeding medications. Ask your health professional about the best diet and nutritional supplement regimen for you.

* Smart strategies for fighting fatigue

If you’re fed up with feeling tired, you’re not alone – arthritis tends to sap your energy. Get extra rest by taking breaks or naps during the day and allowing time for a full night’s sleep. See your health care professional if you have trouble sleeping. Prioritize your activities and do the most important ones first, when you have the most energy. Pace yourself and don’t overdo – set a time limit on shopping, and watch for places you can stop to get off your feet, for example. While on the computer or doing paperwork, keep all materials organized and within reach.

“Handout on Health: Osteoarthritis.” NIH Publication No. 99-4617. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Published June 1999. http://www.nih.gov/niams/healthinfo/osteoarthritis/textonly.htm. Accessed Dec. 1999.

“Osteoarthritis.” Arthritis Foundation. Published 2000. http://www.arthritis.org/answers/diseasecenter/oa.asp. Accessed Dec. 1999.

“Questions and Answers About Arthritis Pain. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Published Jan. 1998. http://www.nih.gov/niams/healthinfo/arthpain.htm. Accessed Dec. 1999.

“Questions and Answers About Arthritis and Exercise.” Published 2/97. http://www.nih.gov/niams/healthinfo/arthexfs.htm. Accessed Dec. 1999.

“New Arthritis Drugs for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis.” Published March 2000. http://www.nih.gov/niams/healthinfo/arthrdrugs.htm. Similar/predecessor pg. accessed Dec. 1999.

“Arthritis and Exercise: Key Words.” Published Feb. 1997. http://www.nih.gov/niams/healthinfo/arthexkw.htm. Accessed Dec. 1999.

Editorial Staff of the National Women’s Health Resource Center 2002/02/01 2005/04/14 There are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis, which literally means joint inflammation. About 70 million Americans are afflicted, and more than half of those have osteoarthritis, by far the most common form, especially among older people. Arthroscopy,Bone spurs,Bouchard’s nodes,Heberden’s nodes,Hyaluronic acid,joint inflammation,Osteoarthritis,Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

COPYRIGHT 2005 National Women’s Health Resource Center

COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale Group