Knee osteoarthritis, the most common form of osteoarthritis,
is a painful and debilitating condition, and is usually more severe after
physical activity. Symptoms include pain and stiffness, a loss of flexibility,
a feeling the bones in the joint are rubbing together, along with possible
swelling and tenderness. As symptoms of knee osteoarthritis gradually increase,
it becomes hard to live with the constant pain associated with it.
First, and foremost, it is imperative to talk with your
doctor about your pain.
According to an increasing number of studies, getting support
for pain management can affect patient outcomes in a significant way.
Get the Support You Need
It is important you get the support you need in order to cope
with the pain of osteoarthritis. The toll of the pain varies patient to
patient, but osteoarthritis can be hard to treat and become a disability that
does not easily respond to treatment, This can be frustrating as it affects the
quality of your life.
Coping with pain and keeping it at bay is the first step
toward recovery. You can reinforce your own “take charge of pain” attitude by
trying some of the following tips and see if any, or all, work for you.
You Are Not Alone
Millions of people across the world deal with osteoarthritis
Check and see if your local hospital offers a support group
for pain management, as they can be beneficial and also create a social setting
of those who understand your situation. Talk about your feelings, and don’t be
afraid to ask for help—moderate to severe pain that occurs over a period of
time can cause depression, but if you keep a positive attitude, you can weather
Keep a Journal
Remember, it is natural to feel frustration when you are in
Try keeping a daily journal that includes an exercise log and
a place to “log your feelings.” This type of journal creates a social and
logical document you can refer to.
If you take up bicycling to strengthen the muscles around
your knee, you can note the date and time of your ride, how far you went, and
where you went in this journal. You can also write about how you felt when you
woke up, the severity of pain (mornings can be hard for sufferers of knee
osteoarthritis), and what helped alleviate the pain.
Research shows that writing about pain and illness can have
tangible, positive effects on healing.
Other forms of on-line social media can also help boost your
self esteem and foster a sense of community. The plethora of online patient
blogs that deal with the subject of osteoarthritis pain can also help. Knowledge
about your condition and listening to other people talk about how they cope
with pain is a great resource.
Often a weight loss recommendation is one of the first on the
list from your doctor. Even a few pounds lost will help take extra weight off
the joint. Overall weight loss may have other health benefits as well, such as
lowering blood pressure, or managing other diseases like diabetes. There are
weight loss clinics your doctor can recommend, or contact your local hospital.
Exercise Groups: Joining an exercise group could give you a sense of
community, and if the group is formed through a hospital or physical therapy
service, it can offer you the chance to talk and socialize with other people
who have to cope with living with chronic pain.
Exercises in a class setting are a great way to be social.
Classes like yoga, Tai Chi, and others can help with flexibility and range of
Make sure you talk to your doctor before starting an exercise
routine. You don’t want to do too much and worsen the problem.
Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is a common form of treatment. A good
physical therapist will work with the patient to deal with pain and the toll it
can take on everyday life by suggesting a simple, daily exercise routine, like
riding a bike. Just getting out and pedaling, gradually increasing the mileage
and the height of the hills, can strengthen the quadriceps and calf muscles,
thereby reducing stress on the joint and diminished pain.
On-going Support: Don’t be afraid to ask for help—many supermarkets or food
coops have people who will help with carry groceries, and you can get relatives
to help around the house with other chores.