4 Tips for Managing Arthritis Pain
Pain caused by arthritis can be difficult to deal with. It is easy to become discouraged and unhappy, but with a little effort you can make progress towards alleviating your arthritis pain! Always consult your doctor about any treatments you try, but the following ideas are well-known to help manage arthritis pain.
Your daily routine can play a big role in managing your arthritis pain. Start your fay off with some gentle stretches that you repeat a few times throughout the day. Maintain good posture as you work. Understand your limits and make it a priority to balance activity and rest in your days. These habits keep your joints agile and relaxed, helping minimize pain and inflammation.
Some people may need to take bigger steps such as losing weight or quitting smoking in order to relieve stress on joints and reduce inflammation. If this is you, make it part of your daily routine to eat healthy and be aware of your impulses.
Monitor Your Physical Health
Exercise can play a major role in pain relief when done correctly. Use a program that builds muscles around the joints without being hard on them. Always consult a physical or occupational therapist; they will likely encourage you to do stretching and range-of-motion exercises along with gradual strength training. Mood improvement and weight loss can be assisted by low-impact aerobic workouts such as swimming, walking, and cycling. Avoid high-impact and repetitive motion activities (think running, tennis) that may aggravate your joints.
Eating healthy is another way to counteract pain. Be aware of what you eat; often an acidic diet high in animal products can cause inflammation. Try to have a balanced diet where the majority of your protein comes from vegetable sources, such as beans or dark leafy greens. Get omega-3 fatty acids by way of flax and hemp seeds. Bake, roast, or broil your food to avoid any unnecessary oils that could trigger inflammation. Finally, drink plenty of fluids, but avoid alcohol and carbonated beverages.
Manage Your Mental Health
Doctors consistently find links between physical and mental health, so it is only logical that you should make sure you take care of your mind as well as your body.
It is easy to have negative and self-defeating thoughts while dealing with chronic pain. In fact, depression is more common in people with arthritis, according to the Mayo Clinic. Because of this, you will want to be aware of your mental needs. If you feel you need help, consider cognitive behavioral therapy, which combines talk therapy and behavior modification. There are less formal ways to help manage bad thoughts and stress, such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and even acupuncture. Whatever works for you, as long as it helps to encourage positivity and relaxation!
While not everyone's favorite method of treatment, medication can actually be a big help in arthritis pain management when used correctly.
Talk to your doctor about what might work for you. Over-the-counter medicines such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen sodium (Aleve) are good to use when joints are in pain from new activities, such as spring cleaning after a sedentary winter or walking while on vacation.
When it comes to medication, be careful not to over-treat. Taking too many over-the-counter painkillers can be a concern. On the other side, under-treatment should be avoided as well. Don't ignore the pain and stubbornly refuse medication, it may be a huge help.
Managing your arthritis pain is a long process that can be complicated and difficult. But, if you are diligent and follow doctor's instructions and take care of your body and mind, you may be pleasantly surprised at your results!
Experienced Pain Management Doctors in Frederick, MD
You don't need to suffer through arthritis pain alone. Our team of experienced pain management doctors and orthopedic surgeons can find ways to manage your arthritis pain - surgically and non-surgically. Contact our offices today to schedule your first appointment!