Pain Relief for Joint Arthritis
Arthritis is inflammation of the joints that causes pain and stiffness. Arthritis pain can be long lasting and persistent. Treatment for joint pain relief will depend on the severity of your symptoms and what type of arthritis you have. Talk with your doctor about your joint pain and keep a journal to record when, where, how severe and how often your pain occurs.
Over-the-counter and prescription medications can help you effectively manage joint pain from arthritis. Analgesics, such as acetaminophen, can help you control your pain, though they do not reduce inflammation. Your doctor may prescribe narcotic painkillers, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, if your pain does not subside with over-the-counter medications.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) help reduce joint pain and swelling. NSAIDs can cause stomach problems and can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke so check with your doctor before taking them. Over-the-counter NSAIDs such as aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen are usually sufficient to control arthritis pain. Some NSAIDs are available as topical creams and gels that you can rub directly on the affected joints. Other topical creams contain counter-irritants, such as menthol or capsaicin. These creams cause a cool or hot sensation that interferes with the transmission of pain signals from your joints to your brain.
You can take corticosteroids, such as prednisone and cortisone, orally to reduce inflammation and suppress your immune system’s response to swelling, thereby reducing joint pain. Corticosteroids can also be injected directly into the affected joints. Your doctor may suggest disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to treat pain from rheumatoid arthritis. DMARDs stop your immune system from attacking the swollen joints.
Use ice and heat to relieve arthritis pain for 10 minutes at a time. Stretch carefully before exercise and aim for low-impact cardio exercise, especially if your arthritis pain is in your legs, feet, hips or back. Immobilize affected joints that are particularly painful or swollen for two days at a time with slings, splints or cervical collars. Do not use immobilization devices for longer periods, as this can cause muscle weakness and actually make your arthritis symptoms worse. Use relaxation or meditation techniques to help relieve pain and tension. Eat more vegetables and cut out as much saturated fat as possible. Omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish or supplements can reduce arthritis inflammation and help eliminate pain, according to Dr. Paul Caldron, a clinical rheumatologist at the Arthritis Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
Alternative methods of arthritis joint pain relief include acupuncture, ultrasound therapy and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). Acupuncture uses needles to stimulate nerves to block pain signals from reaching your brain. Ultrasound therapy uses sound waves to soothe inflamed and painful joints. Check with your doctor about seeing a physical therapist for ultrasound therapy. TENS treatment uses a device that sends electrical pulses to the nerves in your joints to block pain through nerve fiber stimulation. Some TENS units cause your brain to release endorphins and minimize pain.
Exercise is critical to reducing joint pain. You may think that exercise will only aggravate joint pain. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, lack of exercise will actually increase your joint pain. This is because keeping your muscles and the surrounding tissue strong is critical to maintaining support for your bones, and not exercising will reduce the strength of these muscles. An example of a good exercise for joint pain are range-of-motion exercises. Range-of-motion exercises involve moving your joints through their normal range of motion (i.e. rolling your shoulders forward and backwards). These exercises relieve stiffness and enhance the ability of your joints to move through their full range of motion. You may consider doing these exercises in water. Water exercises are beneficial because the buoyancy of water makes it gentle on your joints. Moreover, warm water can help reduce joint pain.
Sulfur is a part of the component that pads your joints. Increasing the amount of sulfur in your diet may help rebuild bone and cartilage, and thus reduce joint pain. According to an article published in Let’s Live magazine, the use of sulfur to treat joint pain dates back to the Trojan War, when soldiers used sulfur baths to heal their bodies. While sulfur baths are still used to treat joint pain today, you may prefer to simply incorporate sulfur into your diet. Sulfur rich foods include, egg yolks, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, radish, onion, and garlic.
According to a six week study conducted at the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of Miami, ginger extract significantly reduced the symptoms of patients suffering from osteoarthritis (including joint pain). The study suggests that ginger may improve joint pain, a conclusion that many natural health proponents have believed for years. Ginger can be taken in supplement form and is available at most health food stores. One such store can be found at the link below.