Arthritis Pain Relief - Finding What Helps
Arthritis, regardless of its cause, can be a painful and debilitating condition. People of all ages must often deal with the pain of arthritis.
What works for some may not work for others. Individuals, regardless of age, often come up with unique ideas to relieve arthritis pain, while others stick to traditional routes such as medication. Be willing to experiment in order to find the methods that relieve the pain from your arthritic joints in order to help you lead a healthier, active and quality life.
In addition to traditional over-the-counter medications, additional methods of pain relief may provide respite for those dealing with moderate to severe pain caused by conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, depending on its location.
Before you attempt any alternative or exercise approaches to arthritis pain relief, talk to your doctor about your symptoms and ask him to diagnose the type of arthritis you have. The severity of your pain may be related to the amount of cartilage damage in your joints, as well as its location, such as arthritis in the fingers, often caused by rheumatoid arthritis, to pain in the shoulder, neck, the hip or the knee, often caused by osteoarthritis.
Your level of pain tolerance will also determine the type of relief you seek. Some people are able to ignore occasional arthritis pain caused by weather changes or activity. Others find the pain of arthritis extremely debilitating, often necessitating a sedentary lifestyle.
Non-medical methods of arthritis pain relief may include gentle and slow stretches in the morning after waking. While you're still lying in bed, slowly rotate your neck, shrug your shoulders, and rotate your wrists and your ankles. Spend a few moments bending your knees, keeping your feet flat on the bed as you do so.
Once you get out of bed, try slow gentle twists from side to side, and bend forward, placing your hands on your thighs, knees, or reaching your fingers toward your toes, but only if you don't have balance or stability problems.
While most doctors suggest and promote exercise and activity to help relieve the pain of arthritis, the types of activities you do may be based on the type of arthritis you have. Activity helps to promote joint health and lubrication. Range of motion exercises help keep joints from stiffening up. In most cases, your doctor may suggest that you focus on exercises that engage stretching and strength training.
This doesn't mean you have to go to the gym, but perform a variety of weight-bearing exercises such as walking, and get used to doing a number of arm and shoulder exercises while holding onto 2 to 3-lb. dumbbells.
Various forms of low-impact exercise are extremely beneficial to individuals diagnosed with most forms of arthritis. For example, riding a bike, swimming, walking, and low- impact exercises such as Tai Chi, yoga and Pilates routines are beneficial not only in maintaining healthy joints, but in relieving pain of stiffness, as well as improving your overall mental and emotional attitude.
Exercise promotes the natural release of endorphins from the brain, the body's own "feel good" hormone. The better you feel, the more likely you're able to disregard minor arthritis pain. Heat or cold may also help provide relief. Heating pads and hot packs are recommended to relieve achy, stiff joints and muscles, while cold packs are designed to relieve inflamed, painful joints. If your joints are inflamed, swollen or tender, avoid the use of heat on those areas.
The most common types of medication for arthritis pain are called NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol, Advil, Aleve, and Motrin as well as other forms of ibuprofen and naproxen may help reduce inflammation, swelling, heat and pain in arthritic joints. If such medications don't relieve your arthritis pain, talk to your doctor about something stronger, such as prescribed medications like Vioxx or Celebrex.
Don't suffer in silence.
You don't want to over medicate or under medicate any arthritis condition. Quality of life, the ability to enjoy activities, as well as the ability to perform daily living functions are important for the long-term physical and emotional health of everyone. If you or a loved one is experiencing arthritis pain, visit your doctor to determine the cause and work on a solution for arthritis pain relief.
Please Note: Before attempting any type of treatment see your doctor for more information and specific recommendations.