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Managing OA during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The following resources have been compiled to help support those with OA during these unprecedented times.  As Americans are being asked to practice social distancing, and many social and physical outlets of everyday life (e.g. gyms, churches) are closed, managing OA symptoms may be simultaneously more difficult and more important than ever.

Physical Activity

Maintaining or increasing physical activity levels is essential every day, but especially during times of stress and uncertainty.  Although we must stay apart to stay safe, this doesn’t mean that we have to stop moving.  Activity helps to keep joints lubricated, mobile, and strong. it also helps improve sleep and emotional wellbeing.

Walk With Ease (WWE) offers practical advice on how to walk safely and comfortably, while also providing lots of strategies to help keep you walking and overcoming challenges. You can learn more about the self-directed program AND register for a FREE guidebook on our Walk With Ease self-directed page.  Also, check out our new Guide for Exercising During COVID-19.

Listen to the Arthritis Foundation’s “Live YES with Arthritis” Podcast – Episode 12: The Many Benefits of Walking. OAAA Director, Dr. Leigh Callahan, is the featured guest and discusses how walking can help people with arthritis manage pain, and physical and emotional wellbeing during COVID-19 and anytime. She provides strategies to begin walking, set goals, and monitor progress with the Walk With Ease program.

The American Heart Association also provides a Six-Week Beginner Walking Plan that can be easily implemented inside your home to accommodate shifts in your physical activity routine. Even if you are unable to get outside to walk, you can still enjoy the benefits of walking in your own home – without a treadmill!  Here’s a link to an article from Healthy Women that provides some tips if indoor walking appeals to you.

We invite you to share this video and information about the availability of FREE copies of Walk With Ease broadly.  This Mini Advocacy Toolkit for the Walk With Ease Guidebook has some suggestions for social media posts and promotional text.

Weight Management

The combination of staying home more, less access to fresh produce, and increased stress/boredom eating can make weight gain a real challenge at this time.  Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is important for decreasing the joint pain associated with OA.  Learn more about managing weight and the role of weight loss is decreasing OA symptoms.

Osteoarthritis Healthy Weight for Life Program

Weight Gain and Joint Pain

Can My Weight Make My Joint Pain Worse?

Article from Harvard School of Medicine: Eating during COVID-19: Improve your mood and lower stress

More weight management resources can be found HERE.

Pain Management

This unprecedented time of social distancing may have disrupted your daily routine, transforming your typical approach to OA pain management. Coupled with maintaining a healthy diet and exercise, pain management is important to reduce joint stress and the toll OA takes on your body physically and mentally. There are several resources for you to help safely manage your chronic pain during this time.

Article: Managing patients with chronic pain during the COVID-19 outbreak: considerations for the rapid introduction of remotely supported (e-health) pain management services.

Online portal designed by Arthritis Australia to promote pain relief strategies and provide in-depth information for a more active and pain-free life.

The Pain Trainer 8 week pain coping skills training program

American Chronic Pain Association’s Pain Management Tools

Mental Health Support

You may be feeling overwhelmed by information overload and fears about an uncertain future during this time. This added stress coupled with shifts in exercise and lifestyle can exacerbate your OA pain and put a strain on your mental health. You are not alone, and there are resources right now that can help you manage that confusion and fear.

Emotional wellbeing during the COVID-19 Outbreak

NAMI COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide

Resources to Support Mental Health and Coping with the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Additional Resources

COVID-19 is severely impacting underserved communities. To highlight this crisis, Movement is Life has created new podcasts focusing on the pandemic. Listen to The Health Disparities Podcast on iTunes or on their website.

Arthritis Foundation’s Care & Connect – a resource center with a wealth of information, tools, and resources to manage arthritis during this pandemic, with FAQs from leading experts as they relate to arthritis and COVID-19.

Joint Action is dedicated to helping people with osteoarthritis enhance understanding and management of the disease during this period of home isolation, which is changing how care is delivered and received. Listen to the Joint Action Podcast including interviews with the world’s leading experts in osteoarthritis.

Visit the COVID-19 Terminology Resource Guide to learn more about COVID-19 specific terminology.