It can be very helpful for you to establish a self-monitoring routine of your osteoarthritis. You will be able to present the results of your self assessment and discuss them with your doctor. He or she can then more easily evaluate the degree of progression of your osteoarthritis and adapt your treatment accordingly, if necessary.
Here you will find some self-evaluation techniques based on the following points:
If you notice any changes between two self-evaluations, you must go and see your doctor.
We have already seen that pain is a symptom suggestive of a flare-up of osteoarthritis and thus a possible worsening of the osteoarthritic lesions of your joints.
However, the difficulty lies in the subjective feeling of pain.
So you can help your doctor by quantifying your own pain on a daily basis by attributing a score to it between 0 (no pain) to 10 (extreme pain) and telling him or her during your consultation.
There are predefined pain scales you can print in the section: symptoms of osteoarthritis?
According to the affected joint, osteoarthritis can lead to discomfort or pain that will limit the scope of your movements. The extent of the decrease in your mobility or your difficulty in performing certain tasks can be an effective way to monitor your osteoarthritis.
However, for some locations, the assessments of your difficulties in some movements do not necessarily reflect the evolution of your osteoarthritis.
It is therefore important to quantify your difficulties frequently with these questionnaires, by regularly assessing, for example on a numerical scale, the movements that you have difficulty making).
But you must talk about it regularly with your doctor. By analysing your answers, he or she alone is capable of measuring the evolution of your osteoarthritis and recommending an appropriate treatment for your condition.
Osteoarthritis can lead to a certain amount of stiffness in your joints. The intensity and duration of this stiffness, often in the morning, may reflect the state of inflammation in your joint. This is frequently observed in inflammatory flare-ups of osteoarthritis.
Paying attention to your stiffness may be a way to monitor your osteoarthritis. (Simply by noting its evolution on a regular basis).
However, it is also essential that you discuss the results you have noted down with your doctor. He or she alone is able to analyse the results and assess the evolution of your osteoarthritis.
You must go easy on a joint when it has an osteoarthritis flare-up.
If you are suffering with a weight-bearing joint (hip, knee, ankle) it is very important to rest it. It will allow your cartilage to repair. For example, use crutches, shopping carts or trolleys, so as not to increase the weight carried by your joints.
However, this rest time must not last for too long. You must maintain your muscles. So when you are not suffering any more, you must maintain the flexibility of your joints by stretching and protect them by maintaining your muscle tone. Swimming and keep-fit mat exercises are recommended and anything goes as long as you are not in a standing position for too long.
Exercise is very important for you to avoid losing the muscle mass surrounding your joints. Thus, exercise can help you maintain your muscles during weight loss and thus relieve your joints.
So doing certain movements can relieve your pain and also, in some cases, limit the progression of joint damage.
However, you should consult your doctor to determine the type of exercises you need to do. Indeed, some movements are more beneficial than others.
For your information, here are some exercises that are often recommended. But please remember that it is best to seek the advice of your doctor before starting.
1. Wide stretching motion exercises can help relieve stiffness.
2. Strengthening exercises to maintain or increase muscle strength.
3. Endurance exercises for a healthy heart and better weight control.
You should try not to remain in a standing position for too long to avoid always pushing on the same joints. Thus, it is important that you organise your environment to reduce the time you spend in this position.
Indeed, relaxing the muscles surrounding the inflamed joint reduces the pain.
How to relax:
1. Concentrate on breathing exercises and rediscover the sensations of your body.
2. There are tapes and CDs for relaxation.
3. Relax by taking the time to meditate.
4. Create an inner world of well-being by imagining enjoyable activities (beach, diving, etc.)
Applying heat can also help relax muscles and relieve joint pain. Applying cold helps to reduce pain and swelling during periods of inflammation.