Which lifestyle modifications may reduce or relieve pain and stress in patients with osteoarthritis (OA)?

Updated: Oct 12, 2020
  • Author: Carlos J Lozada, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Instruct the patient to avoid aggravating stress to the affected joint. Implement corrective procedures if the patient has poor posture.

Weight reduction relieves stress on the affected knees or hips. The benefits of weight loss, whether obtained through regular exercise and diet or through surgical intervention, may extend not only to symptom relief but also to a slowing in cartilage loss in weight-bearing joints (eg, knees). [116] In addition, weight loss lowers levels of the inflammatory cytokines and adipokines that may play a role in cartilage degradation. [117]

Some patients with osteoarthritis benefit from heat placed locally over the affected joint. A minority of patients report relief with ice. [118]

In a study of 26 patients with painful and deforming hand osteoarthritis, rigid, custom splints worn nightly on one arthritic finger joint per patient for three months significantly reduced pain in 17 of the 23 patients (74%) who completed the study. Average pain remained significantly lower in splinted joints compared with non-splinted joints three months after patients stopped using the splints. [119, 120]

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