OA occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones wears down over time. It can affect athletes, and it can affect office workers. In your joints, that cartilage protects bones from friction. When it wears down, it results in many symptoms.
- Loss of range of motion;
- Loss of flexibility;
- A grating sensation when the joint is in use;
Home self care for OA
There are many treatments that may help patients with OA. Our Ottawa clinics offer physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractic treatments, hyaluronic acid injections, and more. However, along with professional treatments, there are many ways that patients living with OA can reduce pain and discomfort on a daily basis.
- Exercise is important for a number of reasons. As your general conditioning improves, stronger muscles will help to reduce the load on joints. Your Ottawa physiotherapist or chiropractor can help you develop a customized exercise plan that maximizes your results.
- Exercise will also help to improve your balance, and reduce the risk of falls. Water-based exercises or cycling, for example, can be a good option. Consider low impact activities like Tai Chi or yoga, both of which can help reduce pain and improve flexibility, balance, and range of motion.
- Trade high heels for flats, and shoes with a good supportive structure that cushion your feet when you walk on hard pavement.
- Ask your Ottawa physiotherapist or chiropractor about special devices that may help you. Depending on the joint affected, items like a door knob cover, large handle scissors, book holders, and pick-up reachers (those long grabbers) can help reduce the load on your joints every day.
- Medications may be required to manage the pain. That’s a decision you can discuss with your Ottawa physiotherapist or other primary healthcare provider. In some cases, continuous medications may be needed, while in others, pain meds are taken as required only.
- Heat and/or cold can help. Experiment with a hot towel, or a quick dousing in a bath of ice water, to see which method or methods works for you.
If you are living with OA, or any other musculoskeletal condition, our Ottawa physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other sports medicine specialists are here to help. Drop by or call one of our Ottawa physiotherapy clinics today for an appointment.