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How To Cope With The Pain Of Arthritis

Jul 22, 2008
The pain of arthritis affects people differently. Physical sensitivity of the nervous system varies from person to person, as do emotional and social factors that affect how the body processes pain. Anxiety and negative thoughts can trigger the release of chemicals that magnify arthritis pain.

Stress, overworking the body, not sleeping enough, focusing on the pain and feeling depressed can contribute to greater pain. However, pain management strategies, such as low impact exercise, positive thinking, massage therapy, medication, laughing and using heat treatments, can reduce the most chronic pain, helping sufferers to live a relatively enjoyable life.

Arthritic pain may come from inflammation of the tissues that line the joints. Other times, pain comes from muscle, tendons and ligament swelling or strain. Sometimes fatigue and our emotional center affects how we process pain too. To measure arthritis pain, your doctor will ask you a series of questions related to your hurting.

Before you visit your doctor, it may be a good idea to keep a diary of symptoms that appear over a week or two. Write down the intensity, sensations, severity and what you did to ease the aches. You may then undergo a standard physical exam, submit blood or urine samples and get X-rays to determine the damage done. Once the first steps are taken, your doctor will find the best coping skills and medical treatments for your unique case.

Long-term pain relief for arthritis typically involves more advanced medications (compared to your typical Advil or Ibuprofen). Prescription-strength NSAIDs (such as Enbrel and Remicade) or DMARDs (such as Arava, Methotrexate and Penicillamine) can correct deformities and reduce pain. Corticosteroids are a form of hormone therapy that may reduce joint inflammation to stop pain.

Weight reduction, swimming and physical therapy are other pain management treatments that are good for the long haul. In severe patients, joint replacement therapy, removal of the inflamed membrane or joint realignment surgery may be needed to ease the pain.

Coping with arthritis pain can be difficult, as you're battling depression, frustration, anxiety and stress. It is never easy to accept that you cannot perform every day functions like opening a jar or some of your favorite activities, like riding a bicycle. To break free of your pain cycle, you should meet with other people who suffer to get tips on managing the pain.

You should see your doctor regularly to discuss specially-tailored treatment options, medication and therapies. Eating a healthy diet, getting 8-10 hours of sleep each night, keeping a diary of your pain and staying informed on the latest treatments can be a great asset to you, since there is no absolute arthritis cure.
About the Author
Mike Selvon owns a number of niche portal. Please visit our portal for more great information on managing the pain of arthritis, and leave a comment at our arthritis treatment blog.
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