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Osteoarthritis Management: Getting a Jump on Joint Pain

Joint-pain management makes the most sense when it's done early on.

A little joint pain once in a while isn't necessarily something to worry about. From time to time, we all may experience an ache or two, such as from a minor sprain or the aches and pains that come with a bout of the flu. And the discomfort often goes away with little or no treatment.

But if you're dealing with chronic joint pain, that's another story -- especially if your pain is caused by osteoarthritis (OA). When you have OA, toughing it out is not your best option. You miss out on all the benefits of early diagnosis and treatment, like a better quality of life and the opportunity to keep your joints in the best shape possible.

Here are seven key advantages you may experience by treating your arthritis now, rather than later:

1. Less pain. Decreased pain -- both in the joints and elsewhere in the body -- means it'll be easier to do everyday tasks.

2. Improved physical functioning. You may have an easier time doing things like pushing a vacuum, carrying groceries, or climbing stairs.

3. Better overall health. You'll enjoy fewer trips to the doctor and feel healthier in general when you treat your osteoarthritis.

4. A more active social life. Keeping joint problems in check can make you more active, including socially. It's easier to relax and have a good time when your joints are comfy.

5. Better productivity. Think how much easier it will be to get work done when you've got a handle on the physical and emotional aspects of OA.

6. More good feelings. Untreated joint symptoms could be a fast track to a bad mood. On the other hand, treatment may help ward off depression, anxiety, and even feelings of helplessness.

7. Increased vitality. You may feel more pep in your step when you treat your osteoarthritis.

Break the Cycle
Arthritis pain can be a vicious cycle. Let it slide, and it may bring down both your physical functioning and your emotional well-being. So don't hide from it. Ask your doctor about exercises, medications, and protective measures that may have your joints feeling better, stronger.

You never know -- improving one or more of your OA symptoms could even have a positive cascading effect: You may notice improvements in other OA symptoms, too.

Learn how to maintain your active lifestyle and prevent arthritis pain. Take the assessment.