Lifestyle Changes to Manage Osteoarthritis

Lifestyle changes cannot cure OA. However, they can help to:

  • Ease pain
  • Improve movement
  • Slow future damage

Some changes may be:

Reach or Maintain a Healthy Weight

Excess weight puts extra stress on joints. Eating a healthful diet and exercising regularly can help a person reach or maintain a healthy weight. A dietitian can help.

Exercise

Joint pain may make it hard to be active, but not moving can make the joints worse. Regular activity can help joints move better and ease stiffness. It can also ease pain. Aim for 2.5 hours or more of moderate activity per week. An exercise trainer or physical therapist can help create a plan.

Strong muscles can also decrease wear and tear on the joint by helping to absorb impact. This can protect the joint surfaces. Include muscle strengthening activities two or more days a week.

Seek Counseling

OA can be stressful. Support groups or counseling can help people learn to cope.

Reduce Stress

Stress can make pain worse. There are many ways to lower stress, such as:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Guided breathing and other relaxation methods

References:

Osteoarthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/osteoarthritis. Accessed August 24, 2021.
Osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/osteoarthritis-oa-of-the-hip. Accessed August 24, 2021.
Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/osteoarthritis-oa-of-the-knee. Accessed August 24, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Laura Lei-Rivera, PT, DPT
Last Updated: 8/24/2021

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