How to Deal With Arthritis

Arthritic pain
Arthritis can significantly impact your working life and continue into your retirement years. It can affect your daily activities and your relationship with friends and family. While you can’t entirely prevent arthritis later in life, you can take steps now to lessen the impact on your body. Seeking help from a specialist can help. This article presents some information to help you understand this debilitating condition.
What Exactly Is Arthritis?
Arthritis isn’t only one disease; the term is generally used to describe joint pain or any joint disease. There are more than 100 types of arthritis. The two most commonly diagnosed types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It’s not limited to elbows, wrists, or knees, either. All types can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling inside the body’s joints and affect your ability to hold onto objects, navigate stairs, run, or even walk. In addition, you may experience a limited range of motion, such as having trouble moving your neck or shoulders to the left or right. Many people only experience minor, easily managed symptoms, while others experience severe pain and loss of movement that can keep them bedridden.
How to Decrease the Effects of Arthritis
Some lifestyle changes can help decrease pain for people with mild discomfort.
  • Move. Do daily and gentle stretches that move the joints through their full range of motion. Walking is excellent for knee and hip joints.
  • Good Posture. Be evaluated by a physical therapist who can correct how you stand, walk, or move to lessen the strain on your joints.
  • Limits. Know your physical limitations, and don’t overdo it.
  • Weight. Being overweight can aggravate joint pain. Take small steps to get your weight under control. Any reduction will help.
  • Quit Smoking. Smoking creates additional stress on connective tissue, which increases joint pain. In addition, quitting smoking has multiple health benefits.
  • Activities to Avoid. Avoid high-impact and repetitive movements, such as running, jumping, playing tennis, and high-impact aerobics. A physical therapist can help determine the best activities for your situation.
In addition to the above recommendations, some other treatments can help.
  • Oral Medications. Over-the-Counter (OTC) Anti Inflammatories and pain relievers can be used to reduce pain. These include acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB), or naproxen sodium (Aleve).
  • Topical Creams. Creams containing capsaicin can be applied to the skin over the painful joint. These creams can be used alone or with oral medication.
  • Heat and Cold. Applying heating pads to aching joints, hot baths, or immersing joints in warm paraffin wax can help relieve pain temporarily. Take caution not to burn yourself. Applying ice packs to sore muscles can reduce pain and inflammation after exercise.
  • Massage. Massage improves pain and stiffness temporarily. Inform your massage therapist about where your arthritis affects you.
Carolina Regional Orthopaedics, P.A.
What if arthritis symptoms aren’t improving? If you’ve tried exercise and OTC anti-inflammatories and are still experiencing pain, Carolina Regional Orthopaedics, P.A. can help. Our clinic has a pain management doctor in Rocky Mount, NC, who will accurately diagnose your condition and create an effective personalized treatment plan. The sooner your arthritis is appropriately treated, the sooner you can return to your normal activities, feeling happy and pain-free again. Contact our office today at 252-443-0400 and schedule an appointment.