Arthritis pain is one of the leading causes of disability around the world. Because of this, there is an excess of advice on how to deal with it. If you have been newly diagnosed with arthritis, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information. How do you know what will work for you? In this article, we’ll go over the basics of how to deal with arthritis pain to make your pain manageable. Arthritis can be managed in a variety of ways, including physical therapy, medication, stress management, which we’ll go over in this article.
After being diagnosed with arthritis, the first step to finding out as much as possible about your exact diagnosis. Ask your doctor to fully understand their findings to you, including exactly what type of arthritis you have and the extent of damage to your joints. Being informed is the first step to managing your symptoms. It’s also important to keep your doctor informed of any changes in your pain so that they can best advise you on treatments.
Making a Daily Routine
Monitoring your joints during daily activity, as well as paying attention to your lifestyle can be very helpful in managing your pain.
Daily pain management can include:
- Joint activity. Doing some gentle joint exercises every day can seriously help maintain your flexibility, ultimately reduce pain. A physical therapist, particularly one who specializes in arthritis pain, can give you a list of daily stretches and exercises to do.
- Posture. If you decide to consult a physical therapist, they may recommend changing your posture to reduce pressure on your joints. It may take a while to make good posture a habit, but it can go a long way in increasing mobility and decreasing chronic pain.
- Don’t push it. Going past your limits can do more harm than good, so make sure you’re paying attention to your body and listen when it tells you to stop doing something.
Help lifestyle changes can include:
- Weight management. If you’re overweight or obese, there may be more pressure on your joints. Losing a little bit of weight, or maintaining a healthy one, can help keep pain manageable.
- Smoking. Tobacco products can cause the tissue to degrade, which worsens arthritis pain. Quitting smoking can help slow this degradation.
There are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to exercising with arthritis. Low impact exercise can help keep your joints mobile, which is great for reducing pain. A physical therapist can help you develop a personalized exercise plan. It’s a good idea to start with mostly flexibility focused exercises, and build-up to strength training and low-impact aerobic workouts. Walking, cycling, and water exercises like swimming and water aerobics are typically recommended.
There are definitely some exercises to avoid, however. High-impact, repetitive exercises can cause more pain, so things like running, jumping, and high-impact sports should probably be avoided. Repetitive motions especially have been known to cause more joint damage.
Many arthritis patients benefit from taking medication and there are several types that can be effective. Over-the-counter painkillers like Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and Aleve are commonly used for relieving pain from over-activity, but it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor if you find yourself using them every day. Cream based pain relievers like capsaicin can be used to relieve pain for a specific joint either in combination with another medication or on its own.
A variety of therapies have also been proven effective. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), relaxation therapy, and acupuncture, among others, are some of the most used. If you need help managing arthritis pain, Genesis Medical Clinic can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.
Picture Credit: Pixabay