Arthritis is a significant cause of discomfort and physical impairment in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 20% of American adults (1 in 5) have been diagnosed with the condition. This leaves many people wondering how to manage arthritis pain. Fortunately, if you suffer from arthritis, there are a number of arthritis pain management tips you can follow. This article describes them.
Arthritis Pain Management Tips
Below are arthritis pain management tips that may provide relief. They include strategies for managing arthritis pain without medication as well as information on medication for arthritis pain management.
- Heat/cold treatments. Applying heat and cold to joints can provide relief. Heat increases circulation, which brings protein and nutrients needed for healing damaged tissue. Cold restricts blood flow, which can reduce swelling. Heat and cold treatments with a heating pad or ice wrapped in a towel can be used for 20 minutes at a time.
- Acupuncture. This involves having thin needles inserted into various points in the body as determined by the acupuncture provider. The ancient Chinese practice is believed to affect energy pathways in the body and restore balance.
- Low-impact exercise and stretching. Some workouts like running can be damaging to joints, but low-impact exercise such as swimming helps keep joints flexible. It may also help you lose weight, which can reduce stress on your joints.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy. Arthritis can have a negative impact on your mood as well as your body. “Talk therapy” can help you overcome self-defeating thoughts and behaviors, and as your mood improves, you may do a better job of addressing your physical symptoms.
- Medication. There are both over-the-counter and prescription medications that can help relieve arthritis pain. You should talk with your doctor about what’s right for you.
Treating Arthritis Pain: What to Avoid
Arthritis pain management is about both the things you do to address your pain and things you don’t do. For example, you should not:
- Do strenuous exercise or activities. The more stress you put on your joints, the more they’ll hurt. It’s important to find the right type and amount of exercise for you.
- Overuse medication. If you need medication to help control your arthritis pain, you should talk with your doctor. They can work with you to find the proper dosage of the right medication.
- Ignore your mental and emotional health. Having arthritis and dealing with chronic pain can lead to depression or other mental health challenges. Be sure to talk with your doctor about how you’re feeling physically and emotionally as you discuss arthritis and pain management.
Start Managing Your Arthritis Pain
Arthritis can be a debilitating disease. However, through proper management of the condition, you can minimize the symptoms and improve your quality of life. The key is to be proactive.
Turn to the Baptist Health Orthopedic team if your arthritis symptoms are worsening.
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