Arthritis is a disease that causes inflammation of the joints, and affects around 50 million adults. With the onset of arthritis, pain management is crucial to a person’s well-being and quality of life. So how can someone with arthritis reduce their pain and get back to daily living? People’s bodies can react differently to pain, which means that what works for one person may not always work for another. But through trial and error, a person can arrive at a pain management regime tailored to fit their specific case. Below are some tips that can help.
- Pay attention to your joints during your daily routine. According to the Mayo Clinic, arthritis sufferers should aim to keep their joints in motion. A healthcare professional can prescribe a gentle range of stretches that allow joints to move through their full range of motion. A physical therapist can also instruct on good posture and movement — sitting, standing, and walking correctly. However, it’s also important not to overdo it. Make sure to balance physical activities with rest.
- Exercise. However, high impact sports like running, tennis, or any activities that include repetitive motions and jumping, can increase symptoms and are best avoided. Instead, have a physical therapist recommend an exercise plan that includes gentle exercises, like gradual, progressive strength training. Exercises help to manage weight. As pain can become worse when a person is overweight, exercise, in turn, serves to manage pain as well.
- Medication. Over the counter medication can be used to relieve pain that begins when trying a new activity your joints aren’t used to. These medications include acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve). In addition, you can try applying cream that contains capsaicin to your skin, over painful joints. However, it’s best to not use over the counter medication too regularly. If you find that’s the case, Mayo Clinic recommends talking to a doctor. Other remedies that can help you manage pain that don’t include pharmacological medications include acupuncture, hot and cold treatments, such as taking a warm shower or applying ice packs, and massage therapy.
- Pay attention to your mood. While physical pain relief is important, being in a bad mood or thinking negatively has the potential to make arthritis pain worse, or at least harder to deal with. Cognitive behavioral therapy, a form of talk therapy combined with behavioral modification therapy, can assist with this. Other forms of relaxation, such as meditation, yoga, taking a nature walk or just listening to music can also help.
While arthritis can be a challenge, many small changes can be made to one’s lifestyle to significantly reduce pain episodes. We at Fort Tryon, have specialized staff that care and create the best suitable plan for each of our residence who suffer from arthritis