Arthritis pain relief
Those who live with arthritis or a condition that is similar to arthritis often experience pain – which is often the most unpleasant factor that comes with the disease. To combat the pain and achieve arthritis pain relief, you should learn how to manage the disease. The first thing you should determine is what type of arthritis you have. Then, depending on the type, you can find out what treatment is best suited for you. Before we talk about treatment, let’s discuss the basic concepts of pain.
Arthritis pain and arthritis pain relief is different for everybody
Those who have arthritis usually have some kind of pain associated with it, but this is different for everybody as there are different types of arthritis and different people respond differently to the same treatment. Before you find something that works, it may be necessary to try and test different arthritis pain relief treatments.
But why does pain occur in the first place?
Pain is the body’s way of telling us that something is wrong. When we get an injury, the nerves that surround the area of the injury release certain chemical signals which in turn makes other nerves transmit the signal to the brain. Pain means that something has gone bad and it requires your attention and action. Let’s take a common example: if you put your hand on a hot stove, your brain receives the signals immediately and forces you to take your hand off the stove just as quickly. This type of pain serves as a protection mechanism in us – keeping us safe from all kind of immediate danger.
But in the case of long-lasting pain, as experienced in conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia, the pain, and the reason why it occurs is different. While the pain is telling our bodies that something is wrong, the pain relief is not immediate or apparent to us – as in the case of the hot stove. This type of pain can be debilitating and a certain treatment plan must be taken in order to relieve it and improve the patient’s well-being and quality of life.
How is pain controlled?
The brain and the spinal cord is comprised of a system of nerves that send and receive pain signals. The body has a function of intercepting these signals in order to block them. “Blocking” is achieved by creating chemicals that block the pain signals. Our bodies generate endorphins, morphine-like substances that kill the pain or reduce the sensation of pain.
What is the cause of pain in arthritis?
The cause of arthritis pain can be due to several factors:
- Inflammation – when the joints of the patient get red and swollen.
- Injury to joint tissues – injury can occur due to the disease process, undue stress, pressure or injury sustained to the joint
- Body fatigue – fatigue is often a result of the disease process. This intensifies the pain and makes it harder to control it.
- Depression or stress – patients who have arthritis often can not enjoy different physical activities due to the pain, which in turn can lead to them becoming depressed. Depression and mental health can become a serious factor when treating the disease. This can create a vicious cycle of stress, depression and pain which can aggravate the symptoms of arthritis and make managing it harder.
Common factors that increase the pain associated with arthritis:
- Being distracted and focusing on pain
- Strenuous physical activity
- Increased disease activity
Common factors that provide arthritis pain relief:
- Cold and heat treatments
- Topical pain relievers
- Positive attitude and empowering thoughts
Arthritis pain relief at home
There are a number of ways you can manage to manage your arthritis and keep the pain away.
Sleep restores the energy of the body. Those who are affected by arthritis usually see an improvement after a quick nap or a restful, long sleep. Sleep therapy also reduces the pressure on the joints which reduces swelling and keeps away the pain, making it an efficient arthritis pain relief. The average person needs around 9 to 10 hours of sleep per night. If at any time of the day you are feeling sleepy, take a nap. If you cannot sleep at night if you sleep in the day, avoid the nap and allocate instead some time throughout the day for some quiet relaxation.
Thermotherapy (temperature therapy)
By strategically using cold or heat on different areas of our body, we can reduce stiffness or pain that is associated with arthritis. If you place a cold pack on an area that is swollen or inflamed, it will help by numbing and cooling it. If you experience pain due to a flare up, cold packs are ideal for this. Heat relaxes the muscles and improves circulation of blood. Heat is either dry or moist. Both are useful for reducing and achieving arthritis pain relief. Dry heat comes from heating lamps and heating pads whereas moist heat is found in showers and heated wash cloths.
Massage brings relief to the muscle and the area surrounding it. Massage therapy can be done either by yourself or by a professional. If you massage yourself keep in mind:
- If you experience any pain you should stop
- Joints that are extremely painful or swollen should be left alone
- Use massaging oil or a lotion to help with the technique
By taking certain herbs and supplements you can remove the primary cause of pain while aiding your body to restore itself. Herbal therapy can help with arthritis pain relief while reducing inflammation and stiffness. When taking a herbal supplement, symptoms and pain associated with arthritis see a significant improvement even in the first week or so.
Often times, most of the stress and pain in our life comes not from the body but from the mind. It is vital that you know how to control and calm yourself. Relaxation therapy can give you a sense of well-being and control over your life while providing lasting arthritis pain relief. Meditation is one way to do so. Other methods associated with relaxation include:
- Hypnosis – Hypnosis acts as a very deep relaxation technique that helps you relieve all the stress and anxiety that you get in your daily life. No spooky doctors holding a pendulum in front of your face either – this means sitting in a comfortable position and either being guided verbally by someone in your relaxation or doing it yourself.
- Guided imagery – Focusing on pleasant images and thoughts is a very powerful technique to focus your mind away from the pain. For some people, prayer is a very relaxing and comforting technique.