Managing your arthritis

At this stage, unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis. However, there are many simple things you can do to help you manage your pain and condition. This can range from exercise, pain management, diet and healthy eating and medicines.

Exercise

Research has found that regular exercise is one of the most effective treatments for arthritis and will also improve your overall health.

Exercise will help your arthritis by maintaining and increasing the flexibility of your joints and muscles, strengthening your muscles, improving posture and balance and decreasing or relieving muscle tension.

Not all exercise activities are appropriate for all types of arthritis. Before you start to exercise it is important to speak to your doctor or other members of your healthcare team to help you build a suitable exercise program for your type of arthritis, general health and lifestyle.

Examples of effective exercise activities for arthritis:

  • Walking
  • Exercising in water, such as hydrotherapy, swimming or water exercise classes
  • Strength training
  • Tai chi, yoga and pilates
  • Cycling
  • Chair-based exercises.

More information about exercise and arthritis

Pain management

You may find that sometimes medicines, physical therapies and other treatments cannot relieve all of your pain.

Pain may limit some of your daily activities, but it does not have to stop you from doing your tasks or the things you love. Below are some techniques that may help with your pain:

  • Visit your doctor regularly to make sure you’re getting the best out of your medicines and treatments
  • Exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet
  • Use hot and cold treatments for extra pain relief. A heat pack over the joint or a warm bath/shower can provide effective pain relief. Also, an ice pack may reduce the swelling and relieve pain too. Ask your doctor which type of treatment is best for you.
  • Distraction techniques such as listening to music, exercising, reading, or watching a movie may work for you. The distraction of focusing on something enjoyable rather than your pain may help.
  • Relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing can help decrease muscle tension.

Diet and Healthy Eating

There is very little scientific evidence that specific foods have an effect on arthritis. It is not proven that any specific foods, such as tomatoes or potatoes, can cause arthritis or make it worse. Except for gout, most foods will not have a direct effect on your arthritis or on the pain you experience.

A healthy balanced diet is important for maintaining your general health and wellbeing.

Medicines for Arthritis

Arthritis & Osteoporosis NSW with the support of the National Prescribing Service (NPS) developed a booklet designed to help you discuss your pain with your general practitioner (GP) and other health professionals. By using this booklet you will:

  • Understand what pain is
  • Know what information to take to your GP/health professional
  • Be better prepared for your GP/health professional’s appointment
  • Be able to track your levels of pain and keep a record of it

Call 1800 011 041 to receive your copy of this booklet.