Sometimes Rest Is Appropriate
Despite the importance of staying active, there are times when it’s best to rest. This is the case if the activity you’re doing is causing painnot the “good” pain of muscles that have had a healthy workout, but “bad” pain that is specifically and acutely hurting an arthritic joint.
If you are experiencing an arthritis flare-up, it can be helpful to take a break for a day or two while you focus on reducing pain and inflammation. In the meantime, focus on rest, ice or heat therapy, and anti-inflammatory pain medications. But after youre feeling better, you should get up and get moving again.
You can also ease joint pain by using a warm compress on the joint for 10 minutes before you start exercising, and then applying ice for 10 minutes after. The goal is to “work around” your arthritis pain in order to remain active without making your symptoms worse.
If you’re not sure what exercise options are best for you, talk to your doctor. A physical therapist can also help you find stretches and exercises that you can do at home to stay active and strengthen your joints without injuring them.
Can Arthritis Pain Be Controlled
There are many things you can do to help control your arthritis pain. The goals of these methods are to control pain by:
- learning new ways to reduce pain
- taking as few pain medicines as possible
- changing pain habits that disrupt your normal lifestyle
- increasing your physical and social activity so you can return to an active life as much as possible
The methods listed here will work differently for different people. So some methods may work for you but some may not. Some methods are things you can do for yourself. Others require help from your doctor or other health professionals. Talk to your doctor about these methods. With a little practice you will find the right ones for you.
Stop Avoiding Mobility Aids
A cane, walker, or wheelchair may be necessary for some people with arthritis to stay independent and get around on their own. Understandably it can be tough to think about needing some sort of mobility aid, but if you do need one and don’t use it you risk missing out on things you would enjoy.
A cane or wheelchair doesn’t define who you are, and no one will judge you or think less of you for using one. In fact, you’ll probably be admired for getting out there and having fun in spite of needing a little help.
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When To Talk With Your Doctor
If youve been using a particular management strategy for your arthritis, but you feel like its not working as effectively as it once did, contact your doctor. Its possible that you will have more success with a different type of treatment.
If your symptoms are worsening or new symptoms develop, thats another opportunity to discuss other treatment options with your provider.
Counseling And Other Support
Health care team
Any major disturbance in your life–such as illness or chronic pain–may make you feel anxious, depressed, angry or even hopeless.
This is your first place to turn for help. The team includes your doctor and a nurse. It may also include an occupational therapist or a physical therapist, a social worker, counselor, psychologist and a pharmacist.
Talk to the members of the team about ways to cope with pain. They may be able to help you find services in your area. Don’t be afraid to suggest to your doctor a pain management idea of your own or one from this program. You know yourself and your pain better than anyone.
Many people become depressed when they have severe pain. Some people feel so bad they cannot sleep or eat. In these cases, therapy or counseling may help.
Some people are afraid to admit they need help. They believe that others will think they are crazy if they talk to a professional about their problems. But it’s smart to get help when you need it. If you have the symptoms of depression–poor sleep, changes in appetite, crying, sad thoughts–talk with your doctor.
Some psychologists or counselors are specially trained to work with the emotional side of chronic health problems like arthritis. These people can also teach you how to manage stress. Pain is stressful. If you have increased stress, you may feel more pain. So learning to manage stress can also help you manage your pain.
Take Notes About Pain Frequency Intensity And Triggers
Try keeping a diary of how you feel each day, rating your pain at different times and after different activities. Record what makes your pain feel better, and what makes it worse. Also share with your doctor what you can and cannot do because of your pain. For instance, make note of whether you can drive a car comfortably but have difficulty holding a fork. Your doctor will also want to know about any other symptoms you are experiencing, such as fever or a skin rash, which could point to another kind of arthritis.
The long-term impact to your health from arthritis varies widely from person to person and by the type and severity of arthritis. Still, a diagnosis and treatment is important for more than just your physical health its necessary for your emotional health, too. Anxiety and depression can occur with almost any chronic illness arthritis is no exception, Ruthberg says. So, if youre struggling with pain, see your doctor to figure out the source and the solution.
Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Go Away And How To Control The Pain
Does rheumatoid arthritis go away? Can you control the symptoms and lower the pain? What can you actually do with this disease? Learn the answers!
It is essential to practice exercise regularly, whenever the disease allows us, to strengthen the muscles that surround the affected joints and avoid pain, as much as possible.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, inflammatory disease of autoimmune origin. It manifests mainly in the joints producing pain, swelling and stiffness.
Its cause, like all autoimmune diseases, is unknown until now, although it is postulated that different factors must interact, such as:
- Gene predisposition
- Environmental factors such as smoking, stress, etc.
It is a disease three times more common in women than in men, possibly due to estrogens, and usually appears between the ages of 35 and 55, although it may appear earlier.
Other risk factors, apart from age and sex, are:
- Family background.
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Other Causes Of Joint Pain
Joint pain can also result from abnormal pain processing, which occurs in conditions such as fibromyalgia.
Because joint pain and swelling can have many different causes, she stresses that obtaining the correct diagnosis is the most important part. You have to learn the cause of the joint pain and swelling in order to treat it correctly. Treatment options can vary widely, so it’s important that you don’t try to fix your joint pain or swelling on your own.
Clicking And Popping Noises
You know how it sounds when you crack your knuckles? You may start to hear similar sounds in your toes if you have arthritis. A grinding noise is a fairly common symptom as well.
These sounds are caused by the deterioration of the cartilage that typically cushions the two bones in a joint. As that cartilage wears away, the bones may rub against one another, causing these sounds.
If bone spurs develop, they can also cause clicks and cracks.
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How Long Does The Pain Relief From A Cortisone Shot Last
For some patients, cortisone shots can bring immediate pain relief for others, it can take a few days after the injection to start feeling improvements. According to Dr. Schaefer at the Cleveland Clinic, it can take up to a week for the cortisone to take effect. For others, the shots dont seem to have a big impact on pain and other symptoms. The duration of time for which the shots can bring relief varies tremendously. For some patients, they only work for a few months for others, a single injection can provide relief for a year or longer.
What Blocks Pain Signals
Many scientists think pain control methods help reduce pain by blocking pain signals. Pain signals are sent through a complex system of nerves in the brain and spinal cord.
There are many things that can block these signals and thus prevent the pain message from reaching your brain.
Pain signals are blocked by chemicals made by the brain called endorphins. There are several things that can cause the brain to produce endorphins. These include “natural” controls, such as your own thoughts and emotions, or “outside” controls such as medicines.
A father driving with his children is hurt in a car accident. The father is so worried about his children that he doesn’t feel the pain from his own broken arm. The concern for his children somehow blocked the pain signal and kept the pain from affecting him.
Certain medicines such as morphine imitate the body’s endorphins and block the pain signal. Other pain control methods, such as heat and cold treatments, physical therapy, exercise, relaxation and massage can stimulate the body to release its own endorphins or to block the pain signal in other ways.
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Injections Are Another Low
If other strategies dont provide enough relief, injection therapy is an option with low risk.
A corticosteroid injection involves delivering this anti-inflammatory drug directly to the knee. The benefits are typically short lived. But it varies from person to person. I tell my patients the pain relief can last anywhere from a week to a year, says Dr. Day. One cautionary note with corticosteroids is the potential to increase blood sugar, which is a concern for people with uncontrolled diabetes.
For a possibly longer lasting effect, an injection of hyaluronic acid can be tried. Hyaluronic acid is a substance that healthy joints have a lot of and arthritic knees dont, says Dr. Day. It takes longer to start working than a corticosteroid injection, but the effect often lasts six months to a year.
Two other injection therapies are platelet-rich plasma and stem cells, neither of which is covered by insurance. PRP involves drawing some blood, spinning it in a centrifuge, and injecting part of it into the knee. Theres currently more science backing up the effect of PRP than stem cells, says Dr. Day.
If youre not able to get your symptoms under control with a combination of these measures, she says, it could be time to talk to your doctor about surgery.
This article originally appeared in Cleveland Clinic Arthritis Advisor.
Prepare Ahead Of Time
Keep track of when your flares happen so you can learn to identify triggers. If you think, for example, that weather affects your flares, OA patients need to prepare accordingly and use OTC pain meds, Dr. Bose says. In addition, RA patients should stay compliant with their medication regimen. If you suspect your diet could be a culprit, monitor what foods youre eating, says Karen Jacobs, EdD, OT, OTR, CPE, FAOTA, an occupational therapist who works with arthritis patients and a clinical professor at Boston University.
Have a plan for when flares inevitably occur. Jacobs says to arrange ahead of time with your employer to work from home or make other adjustments if needed. An inflammatory arthritis patient will often, in time, have a sense of whether they are starting to flare, Dr. Ashany says.
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How Do You Deal With Pain
The majority of people equate arthritis with discomfort. Its one of the diseases hallmark symptoms. A pain treatment such as acetaminophen or an NSAID such as ibuprofen or naproxen may be recommended by your doctor.
Other methods for pain relief include:
1. Using a heating pad, wrap, or patch to administer moist heat to the inflammatory joint
2. Applying ice to the affected area to relieve pain and swelling
3. altering ones activities to lessen joint strain
4. Supportive braces or splints for the joint
Although arthritis cannot be cured, it can be controlled. Call your doctor if you have arthritis and dont think your current treatment is helping. Its possible that youll need to attempt a new treatment. You can manage your arthritis and live a productive life with the correct kind of care.
Does Arthritis Ever Go Away
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When To See A Doctor About Early Arthritis Signs
You should see a doctor right away if one of your joints suddenly becomes swollen, red and hot to the touch, or if you can’t bear weight on it at all, since those can be signs of gout or a serious infection, Haque says.
Arthritis has no cure, but there are steps you can take to minimize pain and stiffness, says Rochelle Rosian, a rheumatologist with the Cleveland Clinic Department of Rheumatologic and Immunologic Diseases. There is a lot we can do to help you feel better, she says. You can live a long and healthy life with arthritis.
Your primary care doctor may be able to treat your symptoms if they’re mild, or he or she may refer you to a rheumatologist, a sports medicine doctor, an orthopedist or a podiatrist, depending on your symptoms and where your problem is located.
Expect your doctor to ask you what makes the pain better and what makes it worse, how long you’ve had the pain and stiffness and whether you have had any trauma to the area. It’s not unusual for a high school sports injury to manifest as arthritis in a joint decades later, Rosian says.
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What Is Arthritis Pain
Pain is your body’s alarm system. Pain tells you something is wrong. When part of your body is injured or damaged, nerves in that area release chemical signals. Other nerves act like tiny telephone wires and send these signals to your brain where they are recognized as pain. Pain “tells” you that you need to do something. For example, if you touch a hot stove, the pain signal makes you pull away your hand to prevent further injury. This type of pain is useful because it is your body’s way of protecting you from further injury.
Long-lasting pain, for example, the pain of arthritis, is a bit different. While chronic pain is also an alarm that tells you something is wrong, it often isn’t sufficiently relieved when you treat it. Controlling this type of pain is important since it can disrupt your life.
The methods used to control short-term pain, such as strong painkillers, are not useful for controlling the chronic pain of arthritis. Other methods such as those listed in this article can help.
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Emotional And Social Effects On Arthritis Pain
Your fears about pain, previous experiences with pain and your attitude about your condition can affect how you react to pain and how much pain you feel. Your cultural and religious background and the way people around you react to pain may also affect how you react to pain.
In addition, the emotional ups and downs of arthritis may affect your pain. If you feel depressed and stressed, your pain may seem worse. You may get caught in a cycle of pain, depression and stress that makes everything seem harder to handle.
Exercise And Wise Use Of Joints
Another key to coping with pain is to follow an exercise program designed by your doctor or physical therapist.
Your exercise program should include special range-of-motion exercises to help keep your joints movable. It should also include general fitness exercise such as swimming or walking. These help keep your heart, lungs, bones and muscles strong. Exercise also helps relieve stiffness and gives you an improved sense of well-being. Here are some tips to help you exercise properly:
- If you have a flare, do only gentle range-of-motion exercises.
- Start with just a few exercises and slowly add more.
- Listen to your body. If it hurts too much or if you begin to have too much pain, stop the exercise. Ask your doctor or therapist to help you learn the difference between normal exercise discomfort and too much exercise pain.
Using joints wisely and saving energy
Using your joints wisely means doing everyday tasks in ways that reduce the stress on painful joints. Saving your energy means “listening” to your body for signals that it needs to rest. It also means learning to pace yourself so you don’t become too tired. Here are a few guidelines for using your joints wisely and for saving your energy:
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Talk To Your Doctor About A Knee Brace
Often a knee brace can help. Theres evidence to show that even a simple compression sleeve can decrease pain, says Dr. Day. These are a good way to start because you can get one at the drugstore.
You can also talk to your doctor about a more customized unloader brace. These take pressure off a portion of the joint. The brace thats right for you will depend on the severity and location of arthritis, whether primarily in the inner or outer side of the joint or in the kneecap.