10 Tips to Reduce Arthritis Pain

Saad Rana Jul 20 2014
10-tips-to-reduce-arthritis-pain

While innumerable medicines have been designed to diminish and prevent arthritis pain, the occasional flare-up is still an agonizing concern. Is there more to dealing with arthritis pain than the simple intake of prescribed medication? Yes there is! There are several tips and tricks that you can practice in your daily lifestyle to curb this concern further. This article will highlight ten of the most effective steps that an arthritis patient can adopt to stave off the discomfort and pain.

Arthritis: An Overview

To understand the basis of this condition you must be aware that body parts known as joints form a connection between the various bones in your body. Arthritis is a disease that targets these joints in particular, and consequently puts the sufferer through often unbearable bouts of agony. While there are many forms of arthritis, the most commonly occurring forms are osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is triggered by trauma to the joints, infection of the joints, or age. Joints that generally support more weight, such as those in the knees, hips, feet and spine, are more susceptible to osteoarthritis than other joints in the body. The joints gradually begin to lose their natural shock absorber, cartilage, which acts as a cushion against the stress of excess weight and pressure.

Rheumatoid arthritis is classified as an autoimmune disease, it directs the body’s immune system to launch an attack against its own cartilage and joints. The immune system’s job is to protect the body from foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. In the case of autoimmune diseases, the immune system refuses to protect the body from these detrimental agents. The result is a painful erosion of two opposing bones. Rheumatoid arthritis often affects joints of the fingers, wrists, elbows and knees and causes an inflammation (swelling) of the affected joints.

Options for Arthritis Pain Alleviation

The silver lining to this gloomy cloud is recognizable in the form of a plethora of options available for pain reduction.  Read on to find out what you can do differently to curb the discomfort and agony.

Avoid Putting Pressure

Orthopedic doctors repeatedly encourage arthritis patients to reduce the level of pressure on their joints. Incorrect lifting, sudden movements or lack of stretching exercises are potentially harmful for the joints and should be avoided. Instead of handling heavy objects opt to slide the object along to its destination, use your shoulder to open the door rather than your hand, hold books in the palm of your hand or place them on a table, and bend your knees when lifting a heavy object instead of putting pressure on your back.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise functions as a key component in keeping joint pain at bay. Moreover, it promotes increased levels of energy and leaves you feeling happy. Experts advise that patients should engage in walking, cycling, swimming or light weight training at least three times a week for about 30 minutes. To ensure that the exercise of your choice is compatible with the severity of your arthritis, chalk out a shorter duration of exercise time and see how you feel about it. Exercise should be avoided completely when the joints are inflames. Moreover, in no way must a patient engage in high impact exercises such as running and jumping.

Stretch

While the idea of stretching with pain sounds downright unbearable, the activity will leave you feeling much better. Try to stretch out your joints each day to the extent that you don’t feel pain. A therapist can help tailor a stretching program for you. Arthritis sufferers usually feel exceptionally stiff in the morning, as compared to other times of the day, so begin the day with a shower to loosen up the joints and then proceed with your stretching plan.

Rest

The importance of rest cannot be underestimated, especially in association to pain relief. Taking a break can relax your mind, ease painful joints, and reduce the fatigue that is often associated with the pain. So be sure to take regular time-offs during the day.

Heat and Relaxation

Moist heat, in particular, tends to penetrate well and provides relief from arthritis pain by relaxing the joints. Taking a warm bath, shower, soaking your hands in warm water are all effective ways of obtaining moist heat. Ten to fifteen minute applications of moist heating pads are another option for pain relief.

The Benefits of Hot Wax

If you have pain in the joints of hands and feet, a hot wax bath can ease inflammation. This can work better than a heating pad because the heat works its way around the fingers and toes.

Make Use of Support

Many people, in thinking that a cane signifies disability, refuse to use it. Truth is that this simple tool can make a significant contribution to joint pain reduction. A cane, walker or knee brace can take up to 20% of your body weight off your legs, hips, knees and ankles.

Weight Management

Being overweight can lead to additional stress on your weight-bearing joints like the knees, back and hips. Studies have shown that fat tissue may produce chemicals that can increase joint inflammation, thereby amplifying arthritis pain. Your doctor will be able to advise you on the best exercise plan and nutritional plan for weight loss.

Make Use of Special Tools

Certain types of equipment can help make everyday tasks less painful. Pens, knives, can-openers, zipper pulls and additional products are available to help you protect your joints. Many tools are designed ergonomically to make them easy to use such as kitchen tools with large handles, and large drawer pulls. Invest in these neat everyday gadgets to reduce the routine pressure on your joints.

Plan Out Your Daily Activities

It is difficult to predict when a flare-up may occur or when exactly your joints will become stiff and swollen. Since these concerns cannot be forecast beforehand, planning is the key to coping with them should they emerge unexpected. Here is what you can do to reduce the risk of sudden arthritis pain: Break chores into smaller sub-tasks, take regular breaks while doing work, and be aware of how much physical exertion your body can handle. In fact, you can even break down your stipulated 30 minutes of daily exercise to three 10 minute increments throughout the day.

The Way Forward

These tips may not be able to cure the condition, but they can make living with arthritis more manageable. Incorporate these tips slowly and gradually into your regular routine, and you will notice the difference. As always, be sure to consult your doctor for an expert opinion before making any modifications to your lifestyle.

Saad Rana

Saad Rana:

As a current dental student at Ziauddin University, Saad takes an interest in health, fitness and nutrition. He writes articles based on research through on-line publications as well as consulting various doctors and nutrition and fitness experts. When he's not writing for Health TV, you can find him studying, exercising or watching some of his favourite TV shows.