When you are suffering from arthritis, it can disrupt your life. Depending on the severity of your condition, it can be hard just getting out of bed every day let alone performing everyday tasks. What can be done about the pain that is associated with arthritis? Are there steps that we can take to relieve pain and live a more fulfilling life?
What Exactly is Arthritis?
The word arthritis refers to the inflammation in the joints. ‘Arthritis’ sums up over 100 rheumatic diseases that cause swelling, stiffness and pain within the joints. Two of these diseases that you may heard of are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Causes the Pain Associated with Arthritis
What causes arthritis pain varies from person to person. It is possibly due to the amount of swelling that is present within the joint. It might be due to the tendons, ligaments, muscle strain or fatigue. The pain could be due to the amount of redness or heat that is present within the joint.
It is unclear to health care professional the exact reason of the pain or why some suffer with pain more then others. How much pain a person feels greatly depends upon that particular person and their tolerance and threshold of pain. Pain is felt differently by all.
Short Term Treatment Options for Arthritis Pain
Depending on your condition and the level of your pain, your health care provider may suggest several different treatment options for you. Several different treatments can ease your pain and reduce your inflammation.
Pain relievers such as Tylenol may be effective for people who suffer from osteoarthritis. To bring down the inflammation that is associated with rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor may suggest taking aspirin or an anti-inflammatory drug like Motrin or Advil.
Hot or cold packs can also very effective in relieving arthritis pain. Whether you should use a hot or cold pack depends on the type of arthritis you have. If your goal is to reduce swelling in addition to relieve pain, an ice pack wrapped in a towel can be very useful. If you simply want to alleviate pain, a warm bath or shower or heating pad placed on the affected area for 15 minutes works very well.
Massage can do wonders for painful joints. Although joints affected with arthritis can be very sensitive, a massage can bring warmth and increase the blood flow to the area.
Allow your joints to rest by using a brace or a splint. This kind of treatment can also protect your joints from further injury.
Long Term Treatment Options for Arthritis Pain
Pain for long term relief of arthritis pain often involves different kinds of drug thearapy. The kind of drug thearapy that will be most effective depends on the type of arthritis you have and your doctor’s recommendation.
Drug thearapy may involve an increase with pain medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) like ibuprofen can reduce pain and inflammation. Other types of drugs may block an enzyme that causes the inflammation.
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs can treat those who have become un-responsive to NSAIDs. These drugs help to correct the abnormalities of the immune system responsible for rheumatoid arthritis.
Other long term treatments to relieve arthritis pain involve weight loss and exercise. Weight loss is vital in relieving undue stress to the joints. Even if weight is not an issue for an arthritis sufferer, exercise is still an important aspect of pain control. Low impact aerobics, walking or swimming can reduce the stiffness and pain within joints. Stretching exercises are also extremely important to relieve pain.
While it is true that certain lifestyle adjustments must be made when it comes to dealing with arthritis, it is important to understand that there are treatments. The first step in treatment is finding a good doctor that will be willing to work with you and find the best options for you. It may take a little trial and error at first but, a determination to continue to lead an active life can go a long way.