Saturday, July 6, 2013
Arthritis and Helpful Tips to Relieve Pain
If you’ve got arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, you know that joint pain is an unavoidable fact of everyday life. At times, it can seem overwhelming to deal with the aching and inflammation. But even though there’s really no easy way to beat arthritis pain, there are a few things you can do to at least give yourself a fighting chance.
Take Care of Yourself
· Protect your joints. Don’t overuse them if you don’t have to—slide heavy objects instead of lifting them or push doors open with your shoulders, for example.
· Exercise. Gentle exercises that don’t require force, such as swimming or walking, can help improve the function of your joints and keep them from deteriorating further.
· Try heat. A warm bath, sauna or paraffin wax treatment can work warmth into your joints, especially fingers and toes. The heat can help ease the inflammation.
· Use a walking aid. You might not think a cane or walker is the most stylish accessory, but if it keeps weight off of your knees and hips, then it’s definitely worth it. The less weight you put on your joints, the less pain they’ll give back to you.
· Lose weight. Just like a walking stick can help take pressure off aching joints, losing weight can mean an even bigger relief for your overworked hips and knees.
Mental Tips and Tricks
Using your mind to fight pain is definitely not a magic bullet, but it can’t hurt. Here are a few ways you can combat arthritis with brainpower:
· Meditation. A study in 2011 found that breathing exercises and meditation can reduce the intensity of pain by anywhere from 11 percent to 70 percent. It’s also a good technique to start off your day in a positive way.
· Distract yourself. Think of something other than the pain to get your mind away from what’s hurting you. Fantasizing about food or getting deep into a book can make your joint pain fade into the background.
· Listen to music. Like the distraction technique, music is a way to keep your mind off of your pain. One study found that an hour of listening to music in the course of a week subdued pain and depression related to rheumatoid arthritis. Other artistic pursuits, such as writing or painting, can also be a great way to lose yourself in something distracting—just be careful not to strain your joints in whatever activity suits you.
Be Cautious about Joint Replacement
Although medication and joint replacements may play an important part in the fight against arthritis, and especially rheumatoid arthritis, you want to be very careful about what treatment options you choose. Some drugs can be addicting or have dangerous side effects. And joint replacements have been linked to many problems, including failure and fractures in some patients.
The Biomet M2a Magnum line of hip replacements, for example, has had problems because of its metal-on-metal design. Metal flakes from the implant can cause blood poisoning, pain, swelling and tissue damage. Bad reactions to Biomet M2a Magnum implants have resulted in lawsuits from patients who were harmed by their new hips.
Jennifer Mesko is a writer and editor for Drugwatch.com, a consumer advocacy website. For more up to date news, follow Drugwatch on Twitter.