Self-Management Techniques for Osteoarthritis

Arthritis sufferers use yoga to manage symptoms and stay healthy

You don’t have to rely solely on the help of your doctor when it comes to the management of your osteoarthritis (OA). In fact, there are a number of self-management programs which were specifically formatted for people with this medical condition. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the United States, and many OA patients have voiced their desire to have access to specialized self-management programs.

These self-management programs are designed to provide OA patients with the capabilities they require to take better care of their condition. The most important aspects of these programs include relaxation techniques, pain management, stress management, and regular physical fitness. These techniques can either be learned in a class or through one-on-one tutelage. The primary goal behind these programs is to provide more OA patients with the skills to help them help themselves. For any in doubt, there have been a number of OA clinical studies which have shown how effective these self-management programs can be.

Self-Management Programs for OA in the Hip and Knee

One study in particular judged the effectiveness of a one of these programs for middle aged patients suffering from osteoarthritis in the knee or hip. Researchers compared this self-management program to the most traditional form of care (pain killers and other medications like viscosupplementation) over the course of a 21 month study period. They had qualified physical therapists instruct the participants on self-management techniques.

After just three months, the participants that had been using the self-management techniques saw significantly improved function in their osteoarthritis symptoms and affected joints. The control group did see improvement in knee pain, but they actually had less function in their affected joints. Following 21 months, the results from the self-management group were even more favorable.

These Programs Can Help Reduce Anxiety Too

A different osteoarthritis clinical trial examined 812 participants who each had knee osteoarthritis, hip osteoarthritis, or a combination of both. The participants, who were at least 50 years old, were randomly chosen to be given 6 self-management courses and an educational booklet, or just the book without the self-management courses.

With the help of the osteoarthritis self-management program, participants showed significant improvement in anxiety levels and their ability to manage their symptoms. However, there did not appear to be any significant improvement in pain, number of doctor visits, or physical function.

Choosing the Appropriate Self-Management Program

If you are attempting to gain a better understanding of self-management through a class or program, then it is crucial that you pick the one which fits with your level of experience and knowledge concerning your type of arthritis. For instance, a patient with more advanced OA symptoms will probably have a deeper understanding of this disease than someone who was recently diagnosed. Those new OA patients may not be able to follow along as well in a more advanced self-management course.

In the cases where it may be inconvenient for a person to attend a group program or class, there are plenty of online self-management resources available to help them meet their needs. Learning about these self-management programs online is also just as effective as learning in the classroom too. There are currently online programs available for people who have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or even fibromyalgia.

In the end, these self-management programs can be used effectively to improve your current OA treatment plan. Clinical studies have proven that there are significant benefits to be gained from arthritis self-management programs, even if they are only employed for a few weeks. If you are interested, then you should ask your primary health care providers about the availability of one of these self-management programs.



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