How to Manage Arthritis Pain and Stay Active 

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One or more joints that are swollen and sore is called arthritis. Joint stiffness and pain are the primary symptoms of arthritis, and they usually get worse with age. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are the two most prevalent forms of arthritis.

The firm, slick substance called cartilage, which covers the ends of bones where they meet to create joints, deteriorates as a result of osteoarthritis. The illness known as rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system targets the joints, starting with the joint lining.

Gout can result from uric acid crystals, which occur when there is an excess of uric acid in the blood. Other forms of arthritis can be brought on by infections or underlying medical conditions like lupus or psoriasis.

The kind of arthritis determines the different treatments. Improving quality of life and reducing symptoms are the major objectives of arthritis therapy.


Symptoms

The joints are the primary site of arthritis signs and symptoms. Signs and symptoms of arthritis can vary depending on the kind and may include:

  • pain
  • stiffness
  • swelling
  • redness
  • reduction in range of motion


Causes

Different mechanisms are involved in the harm that osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis do to joints.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, the most prevalent kind of arthritis, is caused by deterioration of the cartilage in a joint, which is the firm, slippery layer that covers the ends of bones where they meet to create a joint. Cartilage acts as a cushion between the ends of the bones, allowing for practically frictionless joint motion. However, if the cartilage is damaged sufficiently, bone can grind against bone, causing discomfort and limited mobility. This deterioration may take years to manifest, or it may be accelerated by an infection or joint damage.

In addition to causing degeneration of the connective tissues that keep the joint together and bind muscle to bone, osteoarthritis also affects the bones. The lining of a joint may swell and become inflammatory if the cartilage is seriously injured.

 Rheumatoid arthritis

The thick membrane lining the joint capsule, which encloses all the joint components, is attacked by the immune system of the body in rheumatoid arthritis. The synovial membrane, which lines the inside, swells and becomes inflammatory. Eventually, the disease process may cause the joint’s bone and cartilage to be destroyed.

Pain from arthritis: Dos and Don’ts

One of the main causes of pain and impairment in the globe is arthritis. There is a tonne of information available on how to use exercise, medicine, and stress management to lessen the pain associated with arthritis and other ailments. How can you tell what will be effective for you?

To aid you in figuring things out, consider the following dos and don’ts.

Fundamentals

It will be simpler to manage your discomfort, regardless of your condition, if you:

  • Find out all you can about your illness, such as the kind of arthritis you have and whether any joints have already been harmed.
  • Involve your physician, close friends, and family in your pain management.
  • If your pain changes, let your doctor know.

Regular activities

Be mindful of your joints as you sit, stand, or move during an activity.

Remain active with your joints. Stretch your joints gently and through their whole range of motion every day.

Adopt proper posture. A physical therapist can teach you proper sitting, standing, and movement techniques.

Know your boundaries. Don’t overdo it; strike a balance between work and rest.

Modifications to one’s lifestyle are also crucial for pain relief.

Control your weight. Being overweight can exacerbate arthritis pain and lead to more problems with the condition. Often, the best way to control weight is to make small, long-lasting lifestyle adjustments that lead to progressive weight loss.

Give up smoking. Smoking stresses connective tissues, which exacerbates the discomfort associated with arthritis.


Work out

Movement can improve the range of motion, strengthen muscles, reduce pain and stiffness, and boost endurance in people with arthritis.

What to do

Select exercises that strengthen the muscles around your joints without endangering the joints themselves. A physiotherapist or occupational therapist can assist you in creating a personalised fitness regimen.

Stretching, ROM exercises, and gradually increasing strength training should be your main priorities. Incorporate low-impact cardiovascular activities to assist in managing your weight and elevate your mood, such as swimming, cycling, or walking.

Things not to do

Steer clear of repeated movements and high-impact activities like:

  • Jumping
  • Running
  • Leaping
  • Volleyball
  • vigorous aerobics

repeatedly doing the same action, as a tennis serve,


Medication

There are many different kinds of drugs available to relieve arthritic pain. While the majority are generally safe, no drug is without adverse effects. Consult your physician to create a prescription regimen tailored to your unique pain problems.

How to Proceed

An infrequent ache that is brought on by an activity your muscles and joints aren’t used to, like gardening after a winter spent indoors, can be relieved with over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol, among others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, among others), or naproxen sodium (Aleve).

To ease discomfort, apply a cream containing capsaicin to the skin over the affected joint. Use it on its own or in conjunction with oral medicine.

If using over-the-counter drugs doesn’t help you feel better, see your doctor.

What to avoid

Being overly harsh:  If you find yourself taking over-the-counter painkillers frequently, consult your physician.

Inadequate care: Try not to overlook persistent, severe arthritic discomfort. You may need to take medicine every day due to joint injury or inflammation.

Concentrating just on discomfort: People with arthritis are more likely to experience depression. Researchers have discovered that using antidepressants and other treatments to treat depression lowers arthritis pain in addition to the symptoms of sadness.

Integration of the physical and emotional

It should come as no surprise that arthritic pain lowers your mood. If you have pain from routine tasks, you will undoubtedly be disheartened. But your pain may worsen and become more difficult to control if these common emotions intensify to the point where they produce a continuous stream of depressing, scary thoughts.

What to do

The following therapies stop harmful mind-body interactions:

Treatment with cognitive behaviour: You may recognise and end patterns of self-defeating attitudes and behaviours with the aid of this well-researched, successful blend of talk therapy and behaviour modification.

Treatment for relaxation: You can de-stress by engaging in yoga, meditation, deep breathing, music, nature, journaling, or any combination of these activities. Relaxation has no negative effects and might even lessen discomfort.

Acupuncture: A skilled acupuncturist will place hair-thin needles at particular locations on your body to ease pain for some patients. It may take a few weeks before you start to feel better.

Cold and heat: applying heating pads to sore joints, having hot baths or showers, or soaking aching joints in heated paraffin wax are some ways to temporarily reduce pain. Take caution to avoid getting burned. No more than 20 minutes should be spent using heating pads at once.

After intense exercise, using cold, such as putting ice packs on aching muscles, helps reduce discomfort and inflammation.

Apply massage: For a while, massage may help with pain and stiffness. Ensure the massage therapist is aware of the areas in which you are affected by your arthritis.


To avoid

Smoke: You may use tobacco as an emotional coping mechanism if you are addicted to it. However, it is ineffective: Smoke’s toxins put stress on connective tissue, which exacerbates joint issues.

A bad disposition: Negative ideas keep happening to themselves. They intensify the longer you focus on them, which raises the possibility of incapacity and worsens your discomfort. Alternatively, engage in enjoyable hobbies, spend time with supportive people, and think about scheduling a therapy session.



For more health related blogs, check our health and fitness section.

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