Saturday, April 26, 2014

Pain Relief for Arthritis - 3 Tips for Better Quality of Life

English: A hand affected by rheumatoid arthritis
English: A hand affected by rheumatoid arthritis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Arthritis can manifest in many ways and can affect any joint. Rheumatoid arthritis may begin symmetrically on small joints, but may attack virtually all other joints. Osteoarthritis is most frequently occur in the knees, back, hips, and also hands. In about half of the cases, gouty arthritis begins at the proximal joint of the first toe --the infamous podagra--, and may progress with formations of tophi which eventually leads to destructions of the affected joints. In all cases, pain relief is often problematic, especially in advance conditions.

The following are 3 basic tips for you in coping with arthritic pain.

1. Try to study your pain experience.
Pain is mainly a subjective experience, understanding it is a good starting point for you to manage it and eventually gain a better quality of life.

Take notes on what things worsen the pain and what non-medical measures that alleviate the pain. Exhaustive activity, over-training, overuse of one or a group of joints (repetitive movements or too much burden) are some factors that may worsen the pain. Heat pads or cold compress may help in certain situations. Non-burden exercises like swimming may also give relaxing effect to your joints.

2. Make some lifestyle changes
You have to make some lifestyle modification for arthritis pain relief. You may need some consultations with an expert in physical therapy. A physical therapist can give you some practical suggestions tailored specifically to your situation. She/he can also guide you for some types of exercise that you can do to relief a chronic pain, such as strengthening exercises, endurance, or range of motion exercises. If you need some sort of supporting device, a physical therapist is the right person to talk to.

Some simple modification to your daily lifestyle may also help to relief arthritic pain. Pain can also be alleviated by using devices like jar opener and buttoning aids, modified computer keyboard and/or mouse, reduce your body weight, and avoiding stressful repetitive activity involving primarily the affected joints.

3. Know your drugs AND take your medications as prescribed
A thorough understanding about the types of medications you are taking is important, but taking them as prescribed is more important.

Analgesics are the most common drugs prescribed for arthritis relief. There are many types of analgesics. It is a good practice to take a note of the history of your analgetic consumption, including their effectiveness and adverse effects. Make sure your doctor aware about the past history of allergic or side effects from these pain relievers.

Other kind of medications that may be prescribed by a doctor for your arthritis pain relief are the Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). This is a category of drugs in rheumatoid arthritis which are used for pain relief and also to slow down disease progression. These kind of drugs are meant to be taken for a long period of time.

In gouty arthritis, allopurinol is an agent to lower the uric acid level in a chronic gout. It is not actually an analgesic, instead its use may worsen the pain when taken during an acute attack. Nevertheless, regular use of allopurinol may reduce the frequency of acute gout attacks.
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