The term arthritis is used interchangeably with joint pain. There is less awareness about the fact that arthritis is the name that encompasses more that 100 different types of conditions, each associated with or leading to, joint pain.
What is Arthritis Pain?
Pain of arthritis can be categorized into as many sections as there are types of arthritis. The most common types include osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia and gout. All of them can cause pain in different ways.
To determine whether your pain is due to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or another type of arthritis, your doctor will ask you many questions about your pain, how it affects your life and body, when it occurs, and how bad it gets. Your doctor may ask you to rate your pain on a scale from 1 to 10.
Here is an account of what you may expect if you’ve been diagnosed with one of these conditions, as well as how to manage the painful arthritis .
In case of osteoarthritis, the protective cartilage and fluid inside some joints start breaking down due of years of use or injuries. This results in restricted and pain inducing movement of the affected joints. There are chances that bones may rub directly against one another inside the joint, causing unbearable pain. Inflammation can also result from this constant, painful friction. This type of arthritis mostly affects the knees, hips, hands, and the spine. In most cases, OA does not affect the same joint on both sides of the body, such as both knees.
How to relieve pain in arthritis?
- Regular doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are needed.
- As a pain killer, acetaminophen may be effective but it might cause mild gastrointestinal side effects. If pain is severe, an analgesic combined with an opioid, such as codeine or hydrocodone, is usually prescribed.
- Non-medicinal pain relief also proves to be very beneficial for dealing with arthritis and pain. These treatments include hot & cold therapy, topical rubs, exercise and physical therapy .
Arthritis Foot pain can be controlled by medications like Voltaren Gel, NSAIDs, biologics and others. All of these can help control swelling, pain and inflammation in your feet. Self-treatments like orhotics for shoes, walking canes or crutches can reduce swelling and help you get around more easily
Applying a cold compress can reduce pain and swelling. Cold therapy also can numb the affected nerves and distract your mind from the source of your pain. Physical therapy can strengthen the muscles in your back to help relieve back pain or regain motion. Warm water therapy is also good for arthritis muscle pain. Warm water allows your muscles to relax and acts as resistance to help build muscle strength. Buoyancy makes it feel easier and more comfortable to exercise.
A number of people suffering arthritis in the neck and back find relief from anti-inflammatory supplements such as fish oil for neck pain. NSAIDs are the conventional treatment options. Other topical anti-inflammatories include gels which contain capsaicin as it helps improve circulation to the affected area.
Supplements which may help slow down, or even sometimes repair, degeneration of connective tissue in the cervical spine include glucosamine and chondroitin. Specific pillows for neck pain (including traction pillows), collars, and alternative therapies like acupressure and acupuncture may be helpful for some patients.
Steroid injections may be considered to relieve pain, but are usually difficult to conduct in the cervical spine due to the complex array of structures in the area and limited access to the nerves themselves.
Also, staying active is important in case of arthritis in the neck so that joints keep from stiffening. For arthritis pain, long periods of inactivity might prove to be fatal as the muscles will be tight and are liable to spasm and cramp up, they will also be weaker and less able to support the joints. Maintaining activity serves to increase circulation throughout the body, but should never be done to the point of pain.
Remember that arthritis pain management is not as simple as it seems and thus a doctor must be contacted before resorting to any of the methods for pain relief.