Arthritis Pain Relief
Arthritis pain relief is a common quest for nearly one in five Americans. And arthritis is not just for senior citizens. Chances are you know someone with arthritis, because it’s the most common cause of disability in the U.S. Maybe your grandmother or uncle has mentioned their stiff joints, or perhaps one of your friends. Children also can be affected by some forms of the disease.
Arthritis usually causes pain or swelling in the joints that can make your body feel stiff or make it difficult to move around. There are different types of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common type of arthritis, affects an estimated 27 million Americans, most of whom are over age 65. OA is a degenerative disease related to an injury or aging that occurs when tissue in the joints becomes worn down.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can affect people of all ages, especially women. RA happens when the body’s immune system attacks tissues instead of protecting them from infection. RA usually affects the same joints on both sides of the body, causing pain, swelling, discomfort and fatigue.
Seeking Arthritis Pain Relief
Arthritis cannot be cured, but there are ways to manage pain associated with the condition. Some common treatment choices include:
Practicing relaxation techniques and positive self-talk can distract you from arthritis pain and help you focus on what you can accomplish, not on limitations caused by the disease.
A carefully balanced program can actually help lubricate joints with mild to moderate exercise, and even strengthen muscles around the joints. And, aquatic exercises take a load off your joints.
Eating a healthy diet
A balanced diet can help keep your body weight normal and contribute to overall health and management of the disease. Ask your doctor about taking vitamins to get all the nutrients you need.
Learning how to protect your joints
Wear the right shoes to protect your feet, and use a cane or walker to lessen pain when walking. Gadgets are available to help open jars or turn door knobs in your house. When faced with heavy items, slide whenever possible instead of lifting them.
Taking medications prescribed by your doctor
Acetaminophen or some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be taken to ease arthritis pain. Your doctor may also suggest prescription medication that’s available for treating the different types of arthritis.
Topical pain killers may help relieve mild OA discomfort. Examples of non-prescription medications include aspirin-like pain rubs, hot/cold applications, and chili pepper creams. Pain gels and patches may be prescribed to relieve pain in the hands, wrists, elbows, feet, ankles or knees.
Check with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter drugs because of allergies or drug interactions. Severe OA or pain that does not improve with other medications may require a steroid injection into the affected joint. When even strong medications or injections are ineffective, you may be a candidate for joint replacement surgery.
Arthritis pain should not be endured as part of the aging process. Talk with your doctor about developing a pain management program designed to prevent further joint damage and maximize your quality of life.