Dealing with pain can be the hardest part of having arthritis or a related condition, but patient can learn to manage it and its impact on their life. The first step is to know which type of arthritis or condition the patient has, because that will help determine treatment. Before learning different management techniques, however, it’s important to understand some concepts about pain.
Not every pain is alike
Just as there are different types of arthritis, there are also different types of pain. One person’s pain may vary from day to day. Each person needs a pain management plan. What works for one person may not work for someone else. You may need to try several different treatments for the patient before you find the one that works for them.
Why pain occurs…
Remember, pain is the body’s alarm system that tells us something is wrong. When the body is injured, nerves in the affected area release chemical signals. Other nerves send these signals to the brain, where they are recognized as pain. Pain often tells you that you need to act. For example, if you touch a hot stove, pain signals from your brain make you pull your hand away. This type of pain helps protect you.
Long-lasting pain, like the kind that accompanies arthritis or fibromyalgia, is different.
While it tells you that something is wrong, it often isn’t as easy to relieve. Managing this type of pain is essential to enhance quality of life and sense of well-being.
What controls pain?
Pain signals travel through a system of nerves in the brain and spinal cord. At times, the body tries to stop these signals by creating chemicals that help block pain signals. These chemicals, called endorphins, are morphine-like painkilling substances that decrease the pain sensation.
What causes pain in arthritis?
Arthritis pain is caused by several factors, such as:
Inflammation: the process that causes the redness and swelling in your joints
Injury to joint tissues: This results from the disease process or from stress, injury or pressure on the joints
Body fatigue: Which results from the disease process, which can make pain seem worse and harder to handle
Mental depression or stress: Which results from limited movement or no longer doing the activities you enjoy. The patient can get caught in a cycle of pain, limited/lost abilities, stress and depression that makes managing pain and arthritis seem more difficult.
What can make arthritis pain feel worse?
- Increased disease activity
- Overdoing physical activity
- Focusing on pain
What can make arthritis pain better?
- Positive attitude and pleasant thoughts
- Appropriate exercise
- Topical pain relievers
- Heat and cold treatments
How to manage arthritis pain at home?
Thermotherapy (Temperature therapy)
Using heat and cold treatments can reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis. Cold packs numb the sore area and reduce inflammation and swelling. They are especially good for joint pain caused by a flare. Heat relaxes your muscles and stimulates blood circulation. Dry heat, such as heating pads or heat lamps, or moist heat, such as warm baths or heated wash cloths, can be used.
Sleep restores energy so that the patient can better manage pain. It also rests joints to reduce pain and swelling. Most people need seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you feel tired and achy after lunch every day, take a brief nap (15 to 20 minutes. If you have trouble sleeping at night, relax quietly in the afternoon rather than taking a nap.
Massage brings warmth and relaxation to the painful area. You can massage your own muscles or consult a professional who is trained to give massages.
- When doing self-massage, stop if you feel any pain
- Don’t massage a joint that is very swollen or painful
- When giving yourself a massage, use lotion or oil to help your hands glide over your skin
Relaxation can help reverse pain in arthritis and give a sense of control and well-being that makes it easier to manage pain. Relaxation involves learning ways to calm and control the body and mind. There is no best way to learn how to relax, as long as both body and mind are relaxed. You can try some of the following methods until you find ones that work:
Hypnosis is a form of deep relaxation in which the attention is focused internally, away from your thoughts and anxieties. People who find hypnosis helpful in relieving pain say it is both soothing and enjoyable.
Guided imagery uses the mind to focus on pleasant images.
Prayer is very relaxing and comforting for some people.
Lastly, you can use a natural, herbal anti-arthritis supplement like Provailen that specifically focuses on pain relief by targeting aching and painful joints and also improving your overall night sleep. Hence, Provailen works on removing the root cause of your pain (stiffness and inflammation of your joints) as well as easing the symptoms.