Arthritis is the name given to a group of related diseases, which include osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis), rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, lupus and fibromyalgia. In its various forms, arthritis affects the young and old, both sexes and all races. Although there are over 100 kinds of arthritis, they share one thing: they all rob otherwise healthy people of their quality of life by making even the simplest of movements painful. This pain is caused by inflammation of the lining of the body’s joints.
How do we treat the illness that affects so many people? On answer is with drugs, such as the “NSAIDs.”
Pronounced “ensayds,” these drugs help reduce pain and swelling in the joints while decreasing stiffness. When taking a low dose, NSAIDs control pain, but higher doses are required to reduce inflammation. The problem with NSAIDs is their side effects. Taking more than one NSAID at a time increases the possibility of heartburn and severe side effects such as ulcers and bleeding. NSAIDs inhibit the blood’s ability to clot properly and may therefore interact with blood-thinning medications such as coumadin. In addition, kidney disease is considered as a side effect. While the over the counter alternatives are safer, they often need to have other remedies used as well to achieve arthritis pain relief.
However, when the NSAIDs do not work, there are other things, less orthodox, to try. Here are a few tips, for arthritis relief.
1. Exercise is a great option at your disposal when looking for natural alternatives for your arthritis pain relief. Walking is especially good; it is easy to do and does not put too much unneeded pressure on the joints. Other forms of exercises that are especially good for arthritis sufferers are balancing types of movements, such as Tia Chi and water walking. While these activities can help build muscle strength, they may cause some discomfort in the joints. If this happens, stop the exercise, if the pain persists more than a couple of days speak with your physician.
2. Rest. As important as exercise is, rest is at least as critical when it comes to arthritis pain control. It is particularly important that you pay attention to your symptoms. If your joints are inflamed and sore, take it easy. Your doctor might advise you to continue range-of-motion exercises, but do not tire yourself.
3. Losing weight is another great way to find some relief from your arthritis pain. That happens because ten extra pounds adds thirty pounds of stress to the knees. Therefore, losing extra weight will be very effective for arthritis pain relief.
4. Heat / cold. Using ice packs can reduce acute pain while heat loosens joints and increases blood flow. Try sitting in a whirlpool before exercising and icing an irritated spot after exercising to provide soothing relief.
5. Researching and using any product that will make your daily life easier, will also indirectly help ease the pain associated with arthritis, reduce discomfort and disability, and, at the same time, reduce your dependence upon others. For example, using a shower seat will allow you to shower without much of the pain that can result from extended period of time standing, or the Foot Funnel, a modern day type of shoehorn, is an assistive device that is been recommended if you have difficulty putting on your shoes. Other helpful examples include cervical pillows, custom-made foot orthotics and canes.
Put these tips into action and you should get at least some relief from the pain of arthritis.