1. Get a proper diagnosis
Many causes of joint pain are not related to arthritis. These include fractures, nerve damage, torn ligaments, and certain types of cancers. A proper diagnosis is the best place to start.
2. Start an exercise program
Moderate exercise is an integral part of treating arthritis. Through exercise may sometimes cause discomfort, proper techniques can nourish cartilage, strengthen muscles and may prolong the life of your joints. Always check with your physician before starting any exercise program
3. Modify your activities
Proper body mechanics can lead to a more effective use of your body and less strain on your joints. The following tips may be helpful:
- Avoid slouching and practice good posture.
- Avoid sitting in low chairs to reduce stress on your knees.
- While traveling, get up and move around every hour or so.
- Avoid impact-loading activities.
4. Nutritional supplements
Recently, nutritional supplements have become popular with patients who have arthritis. Glucosamine and Chondroitin have become the most widely used.
5. Apply heat/cold
Head and/or cold can be used to decrease pain and increase flexibility. Cold decreases blood flow and helps relieve joint pain and swelling. Heat increases blood flow and helps relax muscles.
6. Use orthotics
When your joints hurt, the most simple of daily tasks can become difficult. Ask you doctor about self-help devices like canes, walkers or crutches.
7. Investigate over-the-counter medicines
Medication is an important part of the treatment of arthritis. Many over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are effective in relieving pain and discomfort in those with arthritis. Talk with your physician about which over-the-counter medicines will be safe and effective.
8. Ask about prescription medications
When OTC medications are ineffective, prescription drugs may be useful. Your doctor will be happy to discuss different options with you.
9. Consider Injections
Cortisone can be injected directly into the joints to help relieve both swelling and pain. Meanwhile, Hyaluronate injections have been approved for arthritis of the knee, and may help relieve osteoarthritis pain and restore joint functions.
10. See a surgeon who specializes in arthritis
Of course, a surgeon who specializes in arthritis will be able to discuss surgical options with you.