Pain management for osteoarthritis

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When dealing with a chronic or long-term condition such as osteoarthritis, pain management strategies are essential.

Chronic pain

Chronic pain, also known as persistent pain or long-term pain, can lead to changes in the nerve cells, muscle tension, fatigue, insomnia and mood changes such as stress, fear, and anger. Chronic pain can also lead to relationship issues. 

Treatments and medication

Medical strategies

Research supports the use of medical strategies to treat osteoarthritis pain. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist about what strategies are right for you. Medicine strategies include:

  • Topical creams (diclofenac, cannabis) 
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol Arthritis Formula) 
  • NSAIDS (naproxyn, diclofenac, Celebrex) 
  • Injections (cortisone, hyaluronic acid) 

Take your medication wisely
Always remember to discuss possible side effects with your doctor.  Medication works best when you also manage your pain through lifestyle changes like eating well and exercising regularly. 

Non-medication and alternative strategies

  • Exercise (range of motion, strength, flexibility, aerobic) and walking aids 
  • Ice and heat 
  • Footwear, orthoses, splints 
  • Complementary therapies: acupuncture, massage, chiropractor 

Emotional health and stress

It is natural to feel grief or depression when you are diagnosed with a chronic condition like osteoarthritis. Common symptoms are feelings of isolation, helplessness, and loss. Talk to your doctor if you suspect that you may be experiencing feelings of depression.

Manage your stress
Dealing with a chronic condition like osteoarthritis can lead to increased stress. It is important to manage your stress in healthy, productive ways, such as:

  • Breathing, meditation 
  • Stretching 
  • Doing yoga, tai chi, chi qong 

Register for a free OASIS class

Learn more about managing your pain and reducing stress by attending an OASIS class taught by a Registered Nurse. The recommended classses to take are Pain Management and Sleep and Stress Management.

Learn more about OASIS classes