If you suffer from osteoarthritis, or swollen inflamed joints that make movement difficult and painful, you may feel as if you are reaching the point where you can no longer handle the discomfort. One surprising technique that helps many people with chronically painful conditions manage their problem is to keep a record of it.

There are several ways you can use a journal for the management of OA discomfort.

1. Document your discomfort. Write about what you were doing when your joints began aching, how intense the discomfort was, and what, if anything, you were able to do to alleviate it. After keeping a record for a few weeks, take your diary with you to the next appointment at Osteo Relief Institute center with your doctor and ask her or him to help you look for patterns. After reviewing it you may find out, for instance, that you are trying to exercise too much, or that you are sitting without moving for such a long time that your knees become stiff.

2. Set goals in spite of what would you want to do if your osteoarthritis were no longer holding you back? Make a list. Then see if there are any ways you can start doing some of the things on your list now. For instance, do you really have to be free of all symptoms before you can take your teenage daughter shopping?

3. Rant and rave. You’re hurting and cannot do the things you used to love doing. Worse, you suspect that family, friends, and even your doctor are getting tired of hearing about your condition. A journal is a place where you can complain and write whatever you want, good or bad, positive or negative. Rather than yelling at your friends about being insensitive, you can pour it all out and release some of the negativity you’re feeling.

4. Write a letter to yourself. Suppose you could go back ten years and give your younger self some advice. What would you tell him or her? Now, suppose you can write a letter to the self you will be ten years from now. How will you advise yourself to live between now and then. Would you do anything differently? If so, start working on it now.

5. Keep an accomplishment list and/or gratitude list. When you’re dealing with a long-term medical condition, you may sometimes forget to stop and see the good all around you. That’s why it’s so important that each night before you go to sleep, you take a few minutes and record something you accomplished during the day (even if it was “only” doing a load of laundry) and one for which you are grateful.

When you suffer from chronic discomfort, you may feel as if your voice has been silenced. Use a diary or typing on a computer keyboard to express your thoughts and uncover abilities you never imagined you had.