You can do many things to actively manage your symptoms and keep them under control. You can:
- eat healthfully
- exercise regularly
- reach or maintain a healthy weight
- attend a self-management program
- keep track of the things that cause you pain, called your triggers
You can manage your osteoarthritis by eating healthfully and exercising regularly. Studies have shown that doing exercises that strengthen the muscles around the knee can significantly reduce joint pain in people with osteoarthritis of the knee. This decrease in pain was the same as that seen from using anti-inflammatory medicines.
Exercising and eating healthfully also helps you reach or maintain your ideal body weight. Maintaining an ideal body weight puts less stress on the joints that bear your weight, such as your knees, back, and hips. When you're at your ideal weight, you have less wear and tear of your joints.
You can also take part in self-management programs. These may help to decrease pain, improve self-esteem, and reduce your number of visits to your doctor's office. To find out about programs near you, ask your doctor or call your health plan or local hospitals. Even if the first step you take is a small one, it may be a giant leap towards feeling better.
Finally, keeping track of what triggers your symptoms may help you avoid pain. For example, when you write down what triggers your pain, next time you can take steps to avoid such things.