Basic Pain Management for Arthritis

Arthritis pain can be debilitating, making daily activities difficult and lowering your overall quality of life. Pain management techniques can help reduce pain and improve daily functioning. Here’s everything you need to know about basic pain management for arthritis:

Pain Management Without Medicine

Non-drug treatments can offer substantial health benefits and may have fewer risks than other treatments. Here are some non-drug treatments you can adopt to manage arthritis pain:

  • Exercise 

People with arthritis are often advised to engage in low-impact activities such as walking, cycling, or swimming. These exercise activities can help strengthen muscles and reduce joint pain.

Avoid high-impact exercises such as running and jumping, as they might increase the risk of injuries. Consult your physical therapist or doctor for professional guidance on the right type of exercise for you.

  • Weight Management 

Being overweight can exacerbate arthritis pain as the excess weight puts extra pressure on the joints. Slimming down can help relieve pain and improve joint function. You can lose weight by choosing a healthy diet and exercising frequently.

  • Hot and Cold Therapy 

Hot and cold therapy can help reduce arthritis pain and stiffness. Heat can relax the muscles and increase blood flow to the affected area. Soak in a bath or use a hot water bottle, warm compress, or heating pad to apply heat around the sore joints. Keep the temperature consistently and mildly warm to prevent burns.

Cold therapy, like applying an ice pack or a cold towel to the affected area, can help reduce inflammation and numb the area. After physical activity, consider this therapy as it can help relieve achy muscles or joints.

  • Stress Management 

Chronic stress can exacerbate arthritis pain. It can lower your immunity and allow inflammatory substances to run rampant in your body, worsening arthritis symptoms. Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, can help reduce stress and manage pain.

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Pain Medications

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs are medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac and aspirin. These medications can help reduce arthritis pain and inflammation. Prescription NSAIDs are usually stronger than over-the-counter (OTC) NSAIDs.

Long-term use of these medications may cause severe side effects such as stomach irritation, stroke, and kidney disease. Talk to your doctor before using OTC NSAIDs to mitigate this risk.

  • Acetaminophen 

Acetaminophen is a pain reliever that can help relieve the symptoms of arthritis. It does not have anti-inflammatory properties like NSAIDs. Consult a doctor before using acetaminophen if you have liver or kidney disease or a history of chronic alcohol use.

  • Corticosteroids 

If NSAIDs do not relieve your arthritis pain, corticosteroids may be an option. These medications can offer fast pain relief; however, their effects are temporary.
Corticosteroids can cause some people allergic reactions, joint bleeding, muscle weakness, and infection.

These side effects differ from person to person, so consult a doctor before using corticosteroids. The doctor can advise you on how to minimize these side effects. They may advise you on how to reduce the dosage while keeping the disease under control gradually.

  • Interventional Pain Management 

Interventional pain management uses pain-blocking techniques to reduce the impact of arthritis pain on daily activities, restoring patients’ quality of life. These techniques may be ideal for patients who are in excruciating pain.

Here are some of the most common types of interventional pain management techniques:

  • Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

RFA uses radio waves to heat nerves, reducing pain signals from the affected joint. It can help patients who are in pain due to arthritis-related joint degeneration. Although RFA is relatively safe, it can cause minor discomfort at the treatment site, such as swelling and bruising.

You may need to talk to a pain consultant to know if this treatment is ideal for you. The consultant can explain in detail how RFA works and how to prepare for the procedure.

  • Spinal Cord Stimulation

Spinal cord stimulation is a procedure that involves implanting a small device under the skin to send electrical impulses to the spinal cord. These impulses can help reduce pain signals to the brain. Although this procedure does not cure arthritis pain, it can help you resume your daily activities. It can offer a long-term pain management solution.

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Seek Professional Guidance on Managing Arthritis Pain

Pain management for arthritis can be a challenging process. With the right combination of treatments and lifestyle changes, you can help reduce the pain and discomfort caused by the condition. To get started, talk to your doctor about medications that can be used to control pain and physical therapy options.

You should also look into ways to modify your daily activities and diet to help manage pain. You can start feeling better soon with the right combination of pain management techniques.