Arthritis is a group of degenerative disorders that causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and immobility of the joints. It may involve single or multiple joints of the body. It is a chronic disorder with no definite cure as of yet. Arthritis has been classified in more than 100 different types. However, there are three common types of arthritis – osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gouty arthritis.
- Osteoarthritis is the wearing and tearing of joints which most commonly occurs in people over the age of 60. It happens as the cartilage in the joints deteriorates as a person ages.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where joints are attacked by the body’s own protective cells.
- Gouty arthritis occurs when high levels of uric acid crystals are found in the body. It sometimes mimics RA as it also causes inflammation in the joints.
Whatever the type of arthritis, ankle pain, and inflammation is the common feature. The pain of arthritis can compromise the quality of life due to limitations of mobility and a constant phase of agonizing pain.
Although there is no cure for arthritis, the pain and other symptoms can be managed. The meticulous control of pain is the top priority in arthritis to ensure that you are able to live a normal, joyful life. Here are five proven ways to manage arthritis effectively:
- Thorough education about the arthritis pain: If someone has been diagnosed with arthritis in any form, they must understand that this is something that they will live with for the rest of their life. It is crucial to stay informed about the possible triggers, flares, and complications of arthritis. You must also have a good understanding of the effects that your diet, work, and other relevant factors have on your pain. If something is causing, worsening, or initiation your pain, it is imperative to avoid that causative agent.
Similarly, there will be some factors proving helpful to relieve the pain and improve your symptoms; adhere to them in your day-to-day life is essential. Make a list of questions to ask your doctor so that you can get your questions answered about the process of the disease. The more you know about your body responses, the easier it is to manage the symptoms and control the pain. Maintaining your own health with the knowledge that you gain about arthritis will decrease your hospital visits, financial burden, and will culminate into a pain-free life.
- Shed your extra pounds to ease the pressure on your joints: Obesity is the first and foremost important factor of triggering and complicating the pain caused by arthritis. Excessive weight puts abundant stress on the joints increasing the amount of pain and speeds up the process of wear and tear. In addition, obesity disturbs the hormonal balance and exerts a negative impact on major body systems delaying the healing process. Fat is also a pro-inflammatory substance so by reducing your weight helps to manage and avoid the pain of arthritis.
- Exercise is a simple and healthier way to relieve arthritis pain: Most of us tend to give up exercise and related activities when diagnosed with arthritis. It is a common perception that exercise will aggravate the arthritis pain instead of controlling it. Studies have shown that being active is an important way of relieving arthritis pain. It helps to maintain mobility of joints by keeping them in their optimum shape and position. Exercise has overall health effects on the body by strengthening the muscles, improving blood supply, and releasing the beneficial hormones. It also aids in losing weight, getting good sleep, and acquiring the support of stronger muscles around the joints; all of these factors result in relieving arthritis pain. There is no need to go for vigorous weight lifting and such stuff. Walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling are some examples of best-fitted exercises in case of arthritis pain. You can choose according to your physical activity based on what interests you but be sure to consult your physician first.
- Massage is the best way of instant comfort of arthritis pain: Massages, according to recent studies, should be used as an effective treatment when it comes to relieving arthritis pain. Massages are a method of arthritis relief that is greatly accepted by most people as this method can provide instant pain relief. Getting a massage relaxes the muscles and keeps your joints at an optimum level. Although it is not a primary method for relieving severe pain, however, it is a great means to alleviate pain caused by mild cases of arthritis. In addition to pain relief, massages can also help to improve the associated symptoms. It improves the sleep, reduces anxiety and fastens the recovery time. Benefits of massage in pain relief are the result of improved body circulation and relaxation of a group of muscles. All of these combined effects lead to a wider range of motion, decreased pain, and quick recovery.
- A healthy diet and wise use of medicine is the mainstay of relieving arthritis pain: Healthy dietary habits are vital to managing any disease. A person with arthritis should know about the pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory foods to eat. Calcium, Vitamin D, glucosamine, and omega-3 fatty acids are essential for better joint health and relieving arthritis pain. Hence, it should be supplemented into routine diet of a person with arthritis pain. In addition, foods with established anti-inflammatory properties like turmeric should also be made a part of dishes. In case of acute pain, over the counter NSAIDS are given as first-line pain relief. In case of advanced disease, DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs like methotrexate), biologic response modifiers (like etanercept, infliximab) and corticosteroids like prednisone are given to relieve arthritis pain under supervision of doctor.
In addition to these proven methods, acupuncture, chiropractic, hot and cold therapy, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), yoga, and tai chi are some other beneficial ways of relieving arthritis pain.