With the right support, you can lead a healthy, active life with osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis doesn’t have to get worse and it doesn’t always lead to disability.
Self-care is an integral part of daily life. It means you take responsibility for your own health and wellbeing with support from those involved in your care. Self-care includes things you do each day to stay fit, maintain good physical and mental health, prevent illness or accidents, and effectively deal with minor ailments and long-term conditions.
People living with long-term conditions can benefit enormously if they receive support for self-care. They can live longer, have less pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue, have a better quality of life and are more active and independent.
A good diet and regular exercise will help keep muscles strong and control your weight, which is good for osteoarthritis and also has other health benefits.
Take your medication
It is important to take your medication as prescribed, even if you start to feel better. Continuous medication can help prevent pain sometimes, although if your medications have been prescribed ‘as required’, you may not need to take them in between painful episodes. If you have any questions or concerns about the medication you’re taking or side effects, talk to your healthcare team.
It may also be useful to read the information leaflet that comes with the medication, which will tell you about possible interactions with other drugs or supplements. Check with your healthcare team if you plan to take any over-the-counter remedies, such as painkillers, or any nutritional supplements as these can sometimes interfere with your medication.
Because osteoarthritis is a long-term condition, you’ll be in regular contact with your healthcare team. A good relationship with the team means that you can easily discuss your symptoms or concerns. The more the team knows, the more it can help you.
Everyone with a long-term condition, such as osteoarthritis, is encouraged to get a yearly flu jab each autumn to protect against flu (influenza). It’s also recommended they get apneumoccocal vaccination. This is a one-off injection that protects against a serious chest infection called pneumococcal pneumonia.