Osteoarthritis Pain Relief on the Go
If you need osteoarthritis pain relief, whether it's in your hip, knee, hand, or neck, try these exercises to ease what hurts. Changing positions and doing some light stretching can help.
By Madeline Vann, MPH
Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH
pain relief during your day is not that difficult: The key is not sitting or standing in one position for too long. Shifting positions and doing light stretching provides some osteoarthritis pain relief, whether your hips, hands, or neck trouble you.
People with arthritis have to be creative problem solvers. One question you should ask as you go through your day is, what can I change about my environment to get some osteoarthritis pain relief? For example, consider the grocery store, a place that everyone has to go several times a week and where you may, on occasion, be forced into long lines.
“A lot of stores have driving carts that people can use,” recommends Karen C. Smith, an occupational therapist and practice associate at the American Occupational Therapy Association in Bethesda, Md. If you prefer to be in motion or don’t trust your in-store driving abilities, here are some other ideas for osteoarthritis pain relief while you shop:
- Use the cart for support. You can lean on the cart and, when standing, you can use one of the lower bars to put one foot up for a minute or so, and then the other. “Changing your weight from side to side takes some stress off your back,” says Smith.
- Pick the right time of day. You may want to shop at times when the store is less crowded. If you don’t know when this is, talk to the store manager. Another option is to let store personnel know you have arthritis and ask for permission to use the quick checkout lanes.
- Get help. Ask for help with products that are heavy, such as big bags of dog food, or are too high up for you to reach comfortably.
You can apply these kinds of tips to any environment in which you need osteoarthritis pain relief.
Osteoarthritis Pain Relief: Take Five
Whether on the job or on the go, staying in one position can increase your discomfort. When you are out and about, or even at work, you may be limited in how much movement you can get in your day.
“Any prolonged position is going to make you stiff. Take breaks and move around. Even wiggling can be of some assistance,” says Smith. “You need to lubricate those joints.”
Osteoarthritis Pain Relief: On Long Car or Plane Trips
If you are going on a long drive, take frequent breaks. Get out of the car and walk around a bit. Sitting on a heated seat pad can bring some osteoarthritis pain relief (try this as well if you put in long days at a desk job).
Learn seated exercises
if you are going to be confined for a long time:
Osteoarthritis Pain Relief: In the Office
- Stretch out your legs instead of sitting with them bent.
- Lift straightened legs up one at a time as much as you can, using thigh muscles.
- When your feet are flat on the floor, try lifting your toes, hold for about 10 seconds and then put them back down.
- Gently twist your upper body from side to side to exercise the spine.
Stand up to exercise your hips: Pulling each knee up to your chest and rolling it around a bit will ease hip pain
Try this simple stretch for osteoarthritis neck pain relief:
- Pull your chin down and back, as if to make a double chin.
- While your chin is tucked in, turn your head to look over your right shoulder and then your left.
- Again while your chin is tucked in and you are facing forward, lean your head over as if to touch one ear to the same-side shoulder. Slowly come back to center and then lean the other way. Note: Each ear does not have to actually touch your shoulder.
- Learn finger and hand stretches or carry a soft ball that you can use to exercise your grip.
The goal of all these suggestions is to practice range-of-motion exercises. “Any motion that your body can normally make is a motion that you should let it do,” says Smith. By including this strategy for some light stretching into your daily routine, you can stay active despite osteoarthritis
Last Updated: 07/16/2010