Osteoarthritis, or OA, is the most common chronic condition of the joints. Known as the “wear and tear” arthritis, it occurs when the cushioning between the joints breaks down causing symptoms like pain, swelling, and stiffness. OA affects more than 27 million Americans and is most common is those aged 65 and older.

Several factors like weight, age, genetics, and injury history can all play a factor in the development of OA. While you can’t choose whether or not you will get OA, you can certainly take steps to minimize the impact it has on your life.

Staying positive is key when dealing with an OA diagnosis. Having a positive attitude makes a big difference. Additional stress can cause added tension which can even result in muscle pain and fatigue. Find ways to manage stress and eliminate as much of it from your life as you can through healthy outlets.

Did you know that for every extra pound of excess weight you carry you’re exerting about 4 pounds of extra pressure on your knees? Think what a difference losing just a few pounds could make! Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine is crucial. Low-impact exercises that don’t put a lot of pressure on joints like walking, yoga, swimming, and cycling are all great options.

Rest and relaxation is a cure-all for many things. If you don’t get enough sleep, you can end up tired, grumpy, and in even more pain. Listen to your body and know when you need a break. If you need to stop and put your feet up halfway through the day, then go for it! Learn to rest before you become too overly exerted. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep at night as well.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This might mean asking family and friends for help with tasks that are more difficult for you. This could also mean joining a support group or seeing a counselor to help with any emotional issues surrounding your OA diagnosis. Support is available in many forms!

If you or someone you love is looking for new treatment options when it comes to managing symptoms associated with osteoarthritis, studies are enrolling now. Qualified participants have access to potential new OA medications, and receive care from board-certified physicians and other medical staff. Those that qualify may also be compensated for time and travel expenses. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, learn more about this exciting research opportunity by clicking HERE.