Arthritis is a term used to describe a variety of inflammation in the joints. There are many types of arthritis, most affecting the cartilage – a protective layer that sits between the joints. Once this protective cushioning wears out, the bones connected by your joints start rubbing against each other, causing pain and in some cases immobility. Eventually, the condition can negatively alter your bone structure as a result of wearing out of soft tissues and bone deposits in the joints.
Arthritis can be as painful as it sounds, however, not all forms cause such discomfort. On the flipside, almost all of these lead to joint deformity and reduced range of motion. Don’t miss these quick tips for managing (and preventing) arthritis pain:
Assistive devices like shoe inserts, splints, canes, braces, andcompression gloves for pain relief can help the joint in weight bearing, reducing pain, and keeping a full range of motion. These devices are especially helpful for those experiencing any deformity such as bow-legs, knock-knees, hunched back, or even with smaller joints such as deformed knuckles, etc.
Prescription Medication And Supplements
Prescription medication, both oral and topical, can help relieve pain. NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are usually prescribed, but their prolonged use can cause side-effects and damage to the stomach and kidneys. Some supplements have shown promise, but more, independent research is needed to confirm the results.
Supplements containing fish oil, avocado, soybean, etc. can have anti-inflammatory properties. Some herbs including ginkgo, turmeric, ginger, flaxseed, and capsaicin are also believed to be good for arthritis. For pain relief, glucosamine and chondroitin are two of the most popular supplements. Both are formulated from the different compounds found in the cartilage and are claimed to regenerate the lost cartilage – although more independent studies are required to prove it. Most topical remedies come in the form of creams, gels, balms, and patches, and usually offer temporary pain relief.
A physical therapist can use electric energy (TENS or transcutaneous electrostimulation) to reduce pain and swelling in the joints. Electrodes are placed on the affected area and low-current pulses are delivered through the skin.
Another modern form of electric energy is called electro-acupuncture in which acupuncture needles are attached to electrodes to carry charge through the skin. Experts agree that these forms can offer temporary relief to tense muscles and sore joints.
Certain studies have shown that people who have arthritis can benefit from acupuncture – a traditional Chinese technique that has been in the making for two thousand years and involves stimulating body parts by inserting needles through the skin. Despite the fact that more studies are required to prove the impact of acupuncture, itdoes provide temporary relief and is worth a shot.
Especially common among seniors, occupational therapy can help strengthen muscles, improve range of motions, and help in doing daily activities. Moreover, it can protect joints from further deterioration. The key to getting the most out of occupational therapy is to start working with a therapist as soon as arthritis is discovered – your doctor can make a recommendation to get you started.
While these tips can help you achieve instant, temporary pain relief, you might have to make certain lifestyle changes for sustained relief and improved joint health. For instance, maintaining a healthy weight, regularly exercise (stretching, aerobics, strength training, etc.), using hot and cold therapy, trying meditation, getting a massage, and eating an overall healthy diet are some of the things you can do to improve the condition. Also, avoid prolonged sedentary behaviors and bad posture, quit smoking, and stop or minimize alcohol intake.