Arthritis pain is incredibly common, though each type of arthritis can exhibit in different ways, depending on the condition of your joints and your other physical traits. We’ve discussed before some common ways to treat arthritis pain, but it is equally important to know what to do, and how not to overdo any treatments. Here are five guidelines to making sure you treat your arthritis properly and avoid making it worse.
Have an Exercise and Movement Routine
Stretches (gentle ones) that allow your joints to explore your full range of motion, as well as holding a healthy posture, are just as important as other exercises you might do to strengthen your muscles and stay limber. While it seems counterintuitive, especially with the pain, moving can help reduce stiffness and overall pain. Make sure your exercise routine does not overstretch you and consider low-impact exercises like cycling, walking, or exercising in the water.
Opt Out of High-Impact Exercise
Arthritis doesn’t respond well to exercises like tennis, running, jumping, or repetitive, high-impact motions. Keeping your exercises low-impact will allow you to increase and maintain your health while also keeping an eye on your joints.
Mental and Emotional Health
Taking care of your arthritis pain – when possible – means that you are reducing the potential overall mental and emotional payload that pain can often cause in many sufferers. Should the pain get worse, or be more difficult to treat, there are other options for treating the results and helping curb destructive emotional reactions to body pain. These include:
- Relaxation therapy such as yoga, visiting nature, and deep breathing
- Acupuncture, which is the use of thin needles applied to points on your body, is intended to reduce pain
- Cold and heat therapy and massage may also work for arthritis pain
Medications for Arthritis Pain
Arthritis pain can, of course, get bad enough that only medication can take care of it. There are both over-the-counter and prescription options for arthritis pain, but any medication will come with some potential side effects. You should not be taking pain relievers too regularly (overtreatment) or not take enough (undertreatment), which can be a difficult balance to strike (consult your doctor). With medication, you should focus only on treating your pain, rather than the results of it.
Things to Avoid
Smoking is always the number one health hazard to avoid, as, among other health hazards, it can cause stress on your body’s connective tissues, making your joint problems worse. It is also generally recommended to avoid negative thinking as a result of pain – therapy and finding enjoyable activities are ways to perpetuate positive thinking, instead.
Always consult a physician to go over your options, as well as your current regimen of exercises, medicines and anything else you are currently doing to treat your arthritis pain. Only a doctor can prescribe the right medications and help determine if they will work for you. An anti-inflammatory diet may help reduce pain due to inflammation that comes as a result of your arthritis.