Many clients at our Toronto physiotherapy clinic suffer from osteoarthritis or OA. Because of the nature of OA, which can involve any joint, and other factors, its symptoms can vary quite a bit. It means your treatment plan should be tailored to your individual case. The symptoms of OA come from the breakdown of cartilage over time, and with repeated motions. That cartilage cushions the bones at the joint, and once it is damaged, it cannot regenerate, causing pain, stiffness, and other symptoms. However, along with physiotherapy, chiropractic, or other musculoskeletal treatments, there is a lot that OA patients can do to improve their symptoms every day at home or at work.
- Improving and/or maintaining physical conditioning is an important step. Strong muscles can literally take the weight off your joints. Your Toronto physiotherapist or other sports medicine specialist can help come up with a customized exercise regimen that will optimize results. Consider ongoing activities like Tai Chi, yoga, swimming, and weight resistance training.
- Losing excess weight means you are reducing the load on your joints, which should help reduce pain and discomfort.
- Pace yourself when you undertake any physical activity from vacuuming the carpets to raking the lawn. Rest if you feel pain, or if pain increases.
- When lifting, or performing any other strenuous motion, try to use the largest muscle. For example, when you lift, use your long, strong thigh muscles to rise from kneeling to standing position, rather than the shorter muscles of your lower back.
- Footwear is important. It should be comfortable, and help support your weight evenly. Your Toronto physiotherapist can give you advice on this and any other issues on living with osteoarthritis.
- Special devices such as key turners, scissors with larger handles, book holders, and other items can reduce the strain on your joints from everyday activities.
- Apply heat for temporary relief of joint pain, or at the beginning of your workout routine.
- Apply cold packs after exercising. Many people also find relief from joint pain by submerging the joint in ice water for a few seconds.
- Braces, shoe inserts, and other appliances may offer relief. Ask your Toronto physiotherapist or other sports medicine specialist for advice.
- Consider the design of your home and work spaces. Do you have to reach for certain items on a regular basis? Is there regular or constant strain on any joint or area of the body? Sometimes, all it takes is a small adjustment to make a big improvement in daily comfort levels.
Osteoarthritis can happen to anyone from a top tier professional athlete who has worn down their joints by the rigors of their sport, an office worker who has to use the same arm and hand motions on a repetitive basis, or an apartment dweller who lives in a four-story walk-up. There’s no need to simply suffer in silence when many treatments are available.
If you have any questions about OA or any other musculoskeletal condition or issue, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy and chiropractic clinics today.