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The Truth About Arthritis Pain

Aug 18, 2007
Arthritis pain can be excruciating. It can change the way you live your life, and limit the everyday activities you once took for granted. There are a number of pain options available for arthritis sufferers, but you must first learn which type of arthritis you have, in order to help you treat it better. Once you're doctor has pinpointed which of the 100 types of the disease you suffer with, it will be easier to figure out the best pain therapy for you. First, let's learn a little about arthritis pain itself.

The Purpose of Pain:
Pain tells your body hat something is wrong. When you are injured, the affected nerves release chemical signals to your brain as a warning sign.

Causes of Pain:
Arthritis pain is caused by several things:

-Inflammation, the process that causes the redness and swelling in your joints;
-Damage to joint tissues, which result from the disease process or from stress, injury or pressure on the joints;
-Fatigue that results from the disease process, which can make your pain seem worse and harder to handle;
-Depression or stress, which results from limited movement or no longer doing activities you enjoy.

Different Reactions to Pain:
Every body handles pain differently. Some people are more sensitive to pain, making it harder to handle on a chronic basis. Others fear how chronic pain will change their lives more than the pain itself. Most, however, have found ways to handle their pain through a variety of pain management skills and medications, to help reduce their daily discomfort, and be able to resume doing the things they love again.

What can make your pain feel worse?
There are many things that can aggravate pain in an arthritis patient. Keep a log of your pain levels and the activities that preceded them for several weeks, to see what triggers your discomfort. In the meantime, here are a few things to watch out for:

-Increased disease activity.
-Stress.
-Overdoing physical activity.
-Focusing on pain.
-Fatigue.
-Anxiety.
-Depression.

What can block pain signals?
Is there anything that can block the pain you feel on a daily basis? Sure! Try this:
-Positive thinking.
-Appropriate exercise.
-Relaxation.
-Medications.
-Massage.
-Distraction.
-Topical pain relievers.
-Humor.
-Heat and cold treatments.

How To Control Pain:
Pain signals travel through the nerves to your brain and spinal cord. At times, the body can stop these signals by creating chemicals called endorphins that can work like a morphine-like painkiller to decrease the discomfort.

Many things can cause the body to release endorphins. Emotions are one of them. So is temperature. That's what makes heat and cold treatments work to control pain - they can stimulate the body to either release endorphins or block pain signals in other ways.

Medications too can help alleviate symptoms in some patients. To determine the best pain therapy for you, consult a physician.
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