Osteoarthritis: Pain Management & Lifestyle Tips

Osteoarthritis: Pain Management & Lifestyle Tips

What is Osteoarthiritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a regularly occurring joint condition that affects over 10 million people in the UK. The main characteristic of OA is the decline in cartilage strength. This leads to pain, stiffness and difficulty moving.

The main symptoms of Osteoarthritis include:

  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness
  • Loss of flexibility
  • Grating feeling in the joints
  • Swelling

In this article, we will cover some pain management strategies for people with Osteoarthritis & some helpful lifestyle tips that will be helpful to implement into your life immediately to help reduce joint pain.

Pain Management Strategies

1: Medications

There are over the counter medications such as acetaminophen or non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. It is vital when taking medications to always check the dosage guidelines & follow them accordingly.

If the pain from your Osteoarthritis is strong or is getting worse, consult your GP & they may prescribe you stronger medications.

2: Physical Therapy

Talking to an occupational therapist & getting an exercise plan is a highly effective way to manage Osteoarthritis pain. Regular, low impact physical activity will help with building strength & reducing further damage to the joints.

Some regular exercises that can be done at a steady pace are:

  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Yoga

3: Hot & Cold Therapy

Applying a skin safe heat or cold patch to the affected joints will provide temporary pain relief.

Heat therapy, through the use of warm baths or heating pads will relax muscles & increase blood flow to the affected areas.

Cold therapy, through the use of ice packs can limit inflammation & make the painful area feel numb.

4: Assistive Devices

Using assistive devices around your house will help reduce the amount of stress put onto your joints & make the daily activities that really matter easier. Canes, walkers & knee pads are effective tools, but if your mobility issues are severe, a stairlift will be a significant upgrade to your quality of life. Companies such as Senior Stairlifts offer a wide range of competitively priced lifts with speedy installations.

Lifestyle tips for Osteoarthritis

1: Maintain a Healthy Weight & Diet

Having an excess amount of weight will put stress on joints in your knees & hips. Even losing a small amount of weight will help with reducing the pain in these areas. Having a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins & whole grains will help with maintaining a consistent & healthy weight. The NHS Live Well resource offers great tips on maintaining a healthy weight.

2: Stay Physically Active

Staying physically active through light exercises is vital for managing pain. Low intensity activities such as swimming, walking, yoga & Tai Chi are great for improving flexibility, balance and overall strength.

Age UK has provided some excellent guidelines & recommendations that will keep you active as you age.

3: Practice Good Posture

Making sure that you maintain good posture can help reduce tension on your back & neck whilst reducing overall stress. Be aware of the posture when sitting, standing & moving. You can also consider more ergonomic furniture that is designed to assist with maintaining good posture.

4: Use Joint Protection Techniques

Adopting techniques to protect your joints will help minimize the pain & reduce further damage. Some of these techniques include:

  • Using your larger, stronger joints to perform the most intensive tasks (Using your legs instead of your back to lift objects)
  • Avoiding repetitive motions that will strain your joints.
  • Taking regular breaks & adjusting your positioning.

If you would like further strategies to protect your joints the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy has done a wide range of studies as to the most effective ways of reducing Osteoarthritis pain.

5: Manage Stress

Having consistent pain & reduced mobility will have a negative impact on your mental health. Managing your stress though relaxing, taking deep breaths & mindfulness techniques can help will improving your mood.

Support groups & counselling are regularly available, with Organisations like Mind, Finding resources for managing stress & anxiety have never been easier.


Living with Osteoarthritis or a similar condition can be difficult. However, with the right support, lifestyle adaptations & mindset your quality of life can improve greatly. Making sure that you make use of the correct medication, regular light exercise & a healthy diet will all lead to a significant improvement.

Always consult with your GP before you start any new medication or exercise routine. If you are looking for more resources & information, consult reputable websites such as the NHS, Versus Arthritis, and other linked resources we have provided.

By taking these proactive steps, you can manage the pain that comes with osteoarthritis & greatly improve your lifestyle.


The NHS Live well page. This can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/

Age UK, Being active as you get older. This can be found here: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/exercise/#:~:text=Our%20bodies%20were%20made%20to,from%20cancer%20to%20heart%20disease.

The Cartered Instutute of Physiotherapy discussing if Osteoarthritis can benefit from excersise. This can be found here: https://www.csp.org.uk/frontline/article/nihr-osteoarthritis-can-benefit-exercise