Discomfort from arthritis ranges from mildly annoying to excruciating and debilitating pain. Forms of Arthritis Arthritis is basically defined as inflammation of a joint with over 100 types of arthritis conditions existing. The majority of those afflicted by this diagnosis have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Another, psoriatic arthritis, is manifested as inflammation of the skin as well as joints. Fibromyalgia and gout are also members of the arthritis family. Each type of arthritis causes a unique exhibition of pain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined arthritis pain adversely affects leisure and work activity for more than a third of the adults who have this condition. Of those diagnosed, a quarter of them report experiencing very high pain levels. Learning to manage the pain becomes critical for those who have to live with the diagnosis. While there are medications helpful many people prefer to handle their pain with more homeopathic methods. Pain Management The following are suggestions for pain management but it is always best to consult with a physician to know the best recommended approach. The suggestions here are not meant to replace treatment prescribed by your doctor. Effective management of pain addresses the symptoms of inflammation. You may find some of these remedies for arthritis pain helpful when used in conjunction with prescribed medications.
- Topical NSAIDs – These medications come in the form of gels and creams applied over the painful area. They supply sodium channel blockers and often contain lidocaine or prilocaine. Prescriptions of NSAIDs are available in the form of drops, gels, sprays or patches. These products numb the nerve endings close to the skin. When the NSAIDs reach the joint fluid they decrease the inflammation. Topical NSAIDs are particularly helpful in relieving neuropathic pain.
- Heat – Heat works wonders for osteoarthritis pain. Application of a heating pad for fifteen minutes, three times a day using a warm compress or a heat patch may relieve the discomfort. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) patients often find a warm paraffin wax bath helps hand pain.
- Acupuncture – This ancient Chinese form of healing has been used to alleviate many types of pain including arthritis. Tiny needles are placed in certain areas of the body, called meridians, to release trapped energy. When the energy or chi is released pain disappears. Each needle placement causes an increase in the production of endorphins. These natural pain relievers stop the discomfort. Blood flow in the area increases and facilitates a cleansing of pain by releasing products such as lactic acid. Those on blood thinners or having chemotherapy should not consider this approach. Acupuncture needles seldom cause pain. Those who fear needles use acupressure as an alternative. Acupressure uses the same principles as acupuncture but instead of needles applies pressure to the meridians using fingers, knuckles or the palm of the hand to release energy.
- Lose Weight – Carrying extra weight adds to the wear and tear of cartilage in the joints. Excessive weight is a common cause of osteoarthritis. Excess weight puts undue pressure on the cartilage in your knees, hips and feet. Not only will you feel better when you lose your extra pounds and joints are saved from further damage.
- Eat the Right Foods – Optimum health is achieved by consuming the right foods. Eating a diet low in inflammation-causing foods is beneficial. Many fibromyalgia patients have found major pain relief eating a diet rich in whole foods, raw vegetables and fruits. Include omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Fish oil supplements rich in omega-3’s is key in reducing joint pain and stiffness. Turmeric, a common spice, is another anti-inflammatory pain reducer.
- Massage – The Arthritis Foundation highly recommends massage to reduce the pain of arthritis. Regular massage helps with stiffness and increases range of motion. Always work with a massage therapist who has experience with arthritis patients and schedule regular visits.