Arthritis: Pain Relief and Management

June 29th, 2012
Arthritis: Pain Relief and Management

Arthritis is common in adults especially the elderly of 65 years and more but it can also affect all ages as well. A simple definition of arthritis is the swelling or inflammation of the joints.

Usually, the first thing most arthritis sufferers try is to take over- the-counter medications to relieve the pain. Aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve are some of these.  If this option doesn’t work, the pain may worsen to the point where surgery will be considered (joint repair or replacement).

But how do you manage arthritis?

Arthritis pain management can be a combination of several treatment methods. The following are basic steps to help you when dealing with arthritis:

Step 1: Learn about arthritis pain

Knowing about the symptoms and causes of arthritis is an important step towards managing the pain. It will equip you mentally and break down your pre-conceived mental roadblocks.

Step 2: Restore muscle balance

This can be accomplished by exercise, proper posture and protecting your joints. Regular exercise improves flexibility of the joints and strengthens the muscles supporting the joints. Your physical therapist has extensive knowledge of the human body and can create an exercise plan to correct body mechanics. Exercise will also help in maintaining the ideal weight to take off pressure from your joints.

Improper posture can increase the stress on the joints and can lead to low back pain. Physical therapy will help in the realigning your spine and adjusting your posture to relieve stress on the joints.

Painful joints can restrict your movements and you may find that even daily activities like driving and walking can be painful. Physical therapy can find other ways by which you can avoid tasks that trigger arthritis pain and discomfort.

Step 3: Do-it-yourself pain relief

You can also do self-care at home when dealing with arthritis pain.  Some of the do-it-yourself pain relief options are:

  • Heat. Application of heat which warms tissues and eases arthritis pain. What heat does is increased the blood circulation to the painful joints and it helps relax the tight muscles which eliminated stiffness and soreness. You can take a hot bath or use heating pads.
  • Cold therapy. The application of cold decreases the blood flow to the affected joint to control the swelling and numbs the pain.
  • Rest.  As in most treatment, letting your body heal itself is a major part of treatment plan for arthritis.

Every individual is affected by arthritis differently depending on the symptoms and lifestyle. It is best to work with you doctor and physical therapist on the best options to manage your arthritis.