1. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Carrying extra pounds can exert additional pressure on your joints and contribute to knee pain. If you’re overweight, losing as little as 5 percent of your body weight can help relieve the stress on your knees. Talk to your doctor about developing a healthy eating plan and exercise program to help you lose weight sensibly.
2. Find a Low-Impact Exercise You Enjoy
Talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program. Good choices for people with knee pain include walking and swimming. Be sure to warm up before and cool down after exercising. Avoid hilly terrain and high-impact activities like running and jumping, as these can worsen knee pain.
3. Give Physical Therapy a Try
Physical and occupational therapy often are helpful for people with knee pain. A physical therapist can help design an exercise program that fits your individual ability level and teach you proper techniques to spare your joints. Occupational therapy can teach you how to reduce strain on your knees in your daily activities.
4. Get Enough Rest and Relaxation
Sure, physical activity is important, but R and R can go a long way to promote good health – and reduce pain. Achieve a healthy balance in your life by learning stress-relief techniques like deep breathing and meditation.
5. Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Sleep
No question – arthritis pain can interfere with a good night’s sleep. However, proper sleep is necessary for overall health, so if you are having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor. Proper pain management can help break the cycle to help you slumber soundly.
6. Use Ice and/or Heat
For many people with arthritis pain, ice can help relieve pain and swelling and heat can help ease stiffness. Ask your doctor about how to safely use an ice pack and/or a warm towel or heating pad. A hot shower in the morning or warm bath before bed at night also may be helpful.
7. Apply a Topical Pain Reliever
A number of over-the-counter and prescription creams, gels, sprays and patches are available to help relieve arthritis pain. These pain relievers contain ingredients like capsaicin, salicylates, menthol, or a combination of medicines. Ask your doctor if one of these products might be right for you.
8. Use an Oral Pain Reliever
Oral pain medications are commonly used to treat osteoarthritis symptoms. The first choice is usually an over-the-counter drug like acetaminophen. Ask your doctor about your options – several medications are available, including prescription drug options.
9. Consider Injections
Persistent arthritis pain may respond to treatment with injections. Available options include corticosteroids, which can be used up to 2 or 3 times a year to relieve severe pain, and hyaluronic acid, which can help replenish lubricating substances in the knee. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of injectable treatments for knee pain.
10. Talk to Your Doctor about Surgery
If you have severe osteoarthritis symptoms that interfere with daily life and do not respond to conservative treatment, surgery may be necessary. Ask your doctor about arthroscopic procedures or total knee replacement, may be necessary.