Arthritis Pain Reliever

Arthritis Pain Reliever

Several health care workers may be part of your pain management team: your physician, physical therapist, occupational therapist, a psy¬chiatrist or psychologist and perhaps even a practitioner of alternative medicine such as acupuncture. They may use various methods and techniques to help you manage your pain.

Physical control of pain

Exercise

Exercise is perhaps your best defense against pain. A physical therapist may work with you to develop an exercise program that maxi¬mizes your range of motion and strengthens your muscles around painful joints.

Massage

Massage can improve your circulation, help you relax, decrease local pain and reduce swelling. Some therapists are specially trained in massage techniques for people with arthritis.

If you would like to give yourself a massage or train a family member to do it, remember to stop if the massage is painful. If your joint is very swollen or painful, skip the massage of the joint and instead massage adjacent muscles. Also try a warming or cooling treatment to the joint or muscles or both. And, when giving a massage, use a lotion or massage oil to help your hands glide smoothly over the skin.

Helpful Hint:

If you use a massage oil or lotion, wash it off before any heat treatment to avoid burns.

Additional heat treatments

Unlike the more simplified home heat treatments, a physical therapist may use specialized techniques or equipment to provide pain relief.

Heat treatments might include soaking sore joints, particularly your hands, in a warm paraffin bath. For deep heat penetration, a physical therapist can use ultrasound or short-wave diathermy. This technique requires monitoring and can worsen some forms of arthritis.

Steroid injections

Steroids reduce pain and inflammation. Your doctor may occasionally inject a cortisone drug into an acutely inflamed joint ¬for example, your hip, knee or ankle.

Because frequent steroid injections could accelerate joint damage, your doctor may limit the number of injections to no more than two or three each year.

Nerve block

This is an anesthetic that blocks the nerves to a painful area. Its use is limited because the pain relief may last only a short time.

TENS

TENS, or transcutaneous (across the skin) electrical nerve stimu¬lation, stops pain by blocking nerve signals from reaching your brain. A therapist tapes electrodes on your skin at the site of your pain. The elec¬trodes are linked to a battery-operated stimulator, which delivers a tiny, painless electrical current.

TENS also may help release hormones (endorphins) that fight pain.

Alternative treatments

Other treatments such as acupuncture are gain¬ing some acceptance in the scientific community.

Psychological control of pain

Maintaining a positive mindset is essential to coping with chronic pain. However, you may reach a point at which you need some extra support or training to cope successfully. View this as an opportunity to discover a new dynamic to taking charge of your arthritis.

Behavior therapy

The goal of behavior therapy is to identify and modify some of your reactions to the pain, as well as to make changes to better manage your life despite your pain. This approach may include making changes in your daily routine and incorporating a balance of activities to maintain your ability to be active. You may learn to cope more effectively with changes in your lifestyle, evaluate your priorities and your response to stress and understand and accept your pain.

Related treatments

In addition to learning behavior approaches to managing your pain, there are related treatments that can improve your functioning and may lessen your pain.

Biofeedback Your body has some automatic reactions to stress: muscle tension, changes in skin temperature and changes in blood pressure and heart rate. The goal of biofeedback is to teach you to recognize your body’s reactions to pain and learn to modify them.

During a session with a therapist, you are attached to monitors that track your physiologic systems-heart, respiration, muscle ten¬sion and skin temperature. The therapist will help you learn to relieve the symptoms of stress throughout your body through relax¬ation techniques.

Relaxation training

There are several ways you can learn to relax your body and mind. These include progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, guided imagery and meditation exercises.

One of the most commonly used strategies for pain is progressive muscle relaxation. You learn to focus on each muscle progressively. First, you tense a muscle and hold the tension for 5 or 10 seconds, focus¬ing on the sensations of tension and identifying specific muscles or mus¬cle groups. Then, you slowly release the muscle while focusing on the sensations of relaxation and released tension. This procedure is repeated in the major muscle groups of your body so you become familiar with the sensation of relaxing your entire body.

The ideal setting for learning relaxation is a quiet room where you can rest comfortably on the floor or in a reclining chair or bed. You need to feel relatively at ease but not tired. An instructor can be a great help in directing your attention toward your inner self. You will learn to con¬centrate and to relax at the same time-and be able to do it yourself at home. You may listen to a tape, although live training may be more effective. Eventually, you learn to relax without verbal cues from another person.

The goal of any relaxation strategy is to reduce the level of tension in your body. You can use relaxation throughout the day, when you feel tension or pain building. In this way you can often prevent a worsening of the tension or pain and successfully complete your activities.

Chronic pain centers

If your pain is severe your doctor may recommend a chronic pain center. In this setting, you may participate for several days and work with physicians and therapists representing various specialties. Some centers require overnight stays, whereas others offer outpatient treatments.

This team approach is essential, because it is unlikely that anyone technique will work in controlling your pain. The professionals in an interdisciplinary center can treat both your pain and its potential conse¬quences, such as disruption within a marriage and family, loss of income, depression and anxiety.

Arthritis Home Remedy

Arthritis Home Remedy

Exercise is considered as one of the best home remedies for arthritis, but you should never do it without the consultation of your doctor. Information about exercises that can relief in arthritis condition can be found elsewhere on this website. We feel this is the place to let you know of the ways arthritis pain can be taken care of at home. So here go the methods.

Cold

For occasional flare-ups, cold may dull the sensation of pain in the first day or two. Cold has a numbing effect and decreases muscle spasms. Don’t use cold treatments if you have poor circulation or numbness.

Ice packs

Before using an ice pack, apply a thin layer of mineral oil to your skin at the painful joint. Place a damp towel over the mineral oil. Finally, put the ice pack on the wet towel and cover it with several dry towels for insulation.

You may apply cold several times a day, but for no more than 20 or 30 minutes at a time. Check your skin regularly for loss of its underly¬ing redness. This color loss may indicate the onset of frostbite. Stop immediately if this happens.

Helpful Hint:

To make your own ice pack, combine Y3 cup of rubbing alcohol with 7’3 cup of water. Place this mixture inside two sealed freezer bags, and place in the freezer. The pack is ready to use when the con¬tents are slushy. To re-freeze the contents after use, place in the freezer.

Ice massage

This method applies cold directly to your skin. Using a circular motion, move the ice in and around your painful joint for 5 to 7 minutes. Apply mild pressure, and remember to keep the ice moving when it is in contact with your skin.

Again, remember to watch for color changes in your skin. If you notice your skin losing its underlying red tone, stop immediately. If your skin becomes numb during the massage, end the treatment early.

Helpful Hint:

You can make your own ice block by freezing water in a paper cup. Peel back part of the cup to expose enough ice for your massage. Wrap the cup in a small towel to protect your hands.

Heat

Heat can ease your pain, relax tense, painful muscles and increase the regional flow of blood. But if you have poor circulation or numbness in the part you plan to expose, do not apply heat. You won’t know if you are getting burned.

A variety of chili peppers called capsicum made into a cream has been tested on people and found to reduce tenderness when applied to hand joints affected by osteoarthritis. A burning sensation was the only negative side effect found by researchers.

Cinnamon, ginger, celery seed, evening primrose, devil’s claw, fever¬few, yucca and dandelion are other herbs used in preparations that have received attention for their potential to relieve the symptoms of arthritis.

Hot packs and electric heat pads

Apply several layers of towels over the area to be heated with a hot pack. Lay the hot pack over the towels. Cover the hot pack with several layers of towels for insulation. Add or remove towels between your skin and the hot pack to vary the heat. You may need to add layers of towels over spots where bones project.

Check your skin every 15 minutes. If you see red and white blotches, stop the treatment at once. Your skin has been heated enough. Continued heating could cause a bum or blister.

To protect your skin from burning, do not lie on a hot pack or electric heat pad or apply pressure during treatment. If your skin has poor sen¬sation or if you have poor circulation, don’t use heat treatment.

Heat lamps

Use a radiant heat lamp with a 2S0-watt reflector heat bulb. This bulb produces the type of infrared rays that cause a signifi¬cant increase in local circulation of the skin and underlying tissues. Position the lamp 18 to 20 inches from your skin. Apply the heat for 20 to 30 minutes. Use an alarm clock or timer, or ask someone to waken you if you think you might fall asleep.

You can decrease the intensity of the heat by moving the lamp farther away. Direct the lamp at the skin from the side rather than from above.

Water: baths, showers, whirlpools

One of the easiest and most effective ways to apply heat is to take a 15-minute hot shower or bath. You don’t need an expensive hot tub. A standard bathtub can be just as effective. However, in any very warm bath or shower, use extra caution-and the grab bars. You could become light-headed or even faint.

Contrast baths

Contrast baths are helpful to many people with rheumatoid osteoarthri¬tis of the hands and feet, and they may provide more relief than hot or cold alone.

Start with two large pans. Fill one pan with warm water (110 F) and the other with cool water (65 F). Place your joint in the warm water first for 10 minutes and then in the cold water for 1 minute. Cycle back to the warm water for 4 minutes and then to the cold for 1 minute, and repeat this process for half an hour. Always end with the warm water. If pans are not handy, twin sinks work just as welL

Helpful Hint:

Use warm, not hot, water. You can measure water tem¬perature with a mercury-type outdoor thermometer.

Natural Remedy for Arthritis

Natural Remedy for Arthritis

Herbs are the basis for many traditional medicines, such as aspirin, morphine and digitalis. And scientists continue to discover new medicines derived from plants. Outside traditional medicine, herbal preparations are also gaining popularity for treating both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Herbs and other plant extracts, both exotic and common, are now sold as alternative pain relievers and inflammation fighters.

India’s ancient form of holistic healing called Ayurveda relies heavily on the use of spices and herbs in treating arthritis. Ayurveda practition¬ers believe that arthritis is related to poor digestion and undigested food toxins. Their approach to treating arthritis involves fasting, therapeutic massage with herbal oils and consuming herbs believed to have anti-¬inflammatory properties, including cumin, coriander and turmeric.

Traditional Chinese healers have used extracts from a plant called thunder god vine (Tripterygium wilfordii) to treat various autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. Research conducted in the United States has suggested that one or more components in this plant may fight inflammation or suppress the body’s immune response. Scientists still need to identity the active components. Many parts of this plant are toxic and can cause death if eaten.

A variety of chili peppers called capsicum made into a cream has been tested on people and found to reduce tenderness when applied to hand joints affected by osteoarthritis. A burning sensation was the only negative side effect found by researchers.

Cinnamon, ginger, celery seed, evening primrose, devil’s claw, fever¬few, yucca and dandelion are other herbs used in preparations that have received attention for their potential to relieve the symptoms of arthritis.

Given the past success of medications derived from plants, research may someday help carve a niche for herbal treatments in the fight against arthritis symptoms. Many herbs contain powerful sub¬stances that can be toxic or interfere with medications. Because the sale of herbal products is not regulated by the FDA, it’s difficult to tell which herbs have been proved effective and how to use these herbs safely. For these reasons, talk to your doctor before you take any herbal preparation.

Arthritis Medication

Arthritis Medication

Just as there’s a spectrum of symptoms among people with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis-from minimal to severe ¬there’s a broad spectrum of medications to help control the disease’s pain and, in many cases, its damage. You and your physician have many options.

Medications can help if there’s a need for pain relief, increased level of activity or prevention of further damage from inflammation. Some medications are relatively mild and sold without a prescription-common enough to be found for sale in vending machines and convenience stores. Others are powerful prescription-only drugs.

The benefits of these drugs must be weighed against potentially dangerous side effects. They can help make life pain-free and active again, as long as they’re taken with extreme care and attention to your doctor’s instructions. Some drugs, such as those related to aspirin, are used in several forms of arthritis, whereas others are used in only certain forms.

If you have osteoarthritis, you can benefit from several drug therapies, particularly for the relief of pain. These medications include aspirin and related drugs, acetaminophen, other pain relievers and a few other types of medications.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the purpose of the medication is not only pain relief but also reduction of inflammation and the resulting potential for damage to the joints. Ideally, physicians and scientists hope to reduce the symptoms by controlling the underlying immune system abnormalities that led to the disease symptoms in the first place.

Also, controlling inflammation is one of the keys to reducing pain and getting you back into the lifestyle you want to pursue.

There are four primary groups of medications that doctors recom¬mend for rheumatoid arthritis. Some are available for over-the-counter purchase. Most, however, are prescription drugs:

• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin.
• Corticosteroids
• Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), or remittive drugs
• Immunosuppressant drugs

Other drugs also can be used to treat arthritis. For example, topical creams can provide some pain relief. And acetaminophen is an effective pain reliever that may be among the safest drugs used by people with arthritis. Antidepressants also can be helpful.