Arthritis is the illness which causes swelling and stiffness in the body joints, and there are hundreds of the types of the condition which affects the joints of the body, while also affecting the organs and muscles. Pain is the most common thing associated with arthritis, and managing it is one of the challenges faced by those suffering this health condition.
People who don’t have arthritis imagine that it mostly causes soreness and stiffness in the joints. People suffer from arthritis will tell you the pain can be a show stopper. This is why learning methods of arthritis pain management is not only a necessity to anyone recently diagnosed with arthritis, but an entire field of study and treatment in its own right.
The Psychology of Pain
Pain does not just involve the physical, but has a psychological effect on a person that can be even more disabling. If you wake up and can feel your joints stiffening and swelling, the precursor to arthritic pain, and then the feeling progresses into a full out bout of arthritis complete with pain; a conditioning process is being set up in your mind.
You will begin to psychologically associate the beginning swelling and stiffness sensation with an expectation of pain to the point that eventually you will experience much more pain (and sooner) then is realistically there. This is a part of your mind’s protection mechanism, especially if a part of the conditioning pattern is taking a medication to relieve pain. The mind will send out the signal that enough pain is being felt to justify taking something to relieve it before the pain reaches the point where it is actually present.
It is a form of self-protection. It is also a condition that will lead to feelings of powerlessness, depression and a lack of hope. This is why many arthritis pain management programs may recommend either a mild anti-anxiety medication along with CBT therapy to help prevent irrational (but protective) thoughts from taking hold and allowing you to develop habits of taking medication before it is necessary.
Many patients have had a great deal of success with learning to manage the pain from arthritis using meditation and relaxation techniques. These techniques are successful, not because they get rid of the pain, but they allow you to remain in control of your emotional reaction to the stress of experiencing pain, which allows you to better handle it.
If you are under less stress then your body can focus on releasing all the proper hormones that work to naturally relieve pain. Relaxation techniques also teach you how to see things in a new way. You will be less inclined to view your life as severely diminished or “over” because of arthritis pain and more likely to see it as a just something that you deal with.
Motion and Massage
Maintaining and active lifestyle is a surprise recommendation from arthritis pain management groups. The more you work to maintain a range of motion, the less you will lose to the arthritis. You have to be careful and consistent to soothe your body with massage and hot and cold therapy to help ease your joints or you may not receive much benefit from trying to remain physically active. Being active also helps to manage moods and prevents a funk from setting in that can be common when you are inhibited by pain.
Medication is a reality with arthritis. It may take the form of an over the counter pain reliever, a prescription anti-inflammatory or a prescription pain reliever. More and more people are turning to alternative and natural remedies to help with their pain and inflammation because of the harshness of the side effects associated with some medications.
The important thing to remember is that it is better to take something than to suffer, but to keep looking for the right thing to take that will relieve your pain but not interfere with your life, your mind or your habits. Too many of the prescription pain killers are addictive and you don’t want to have that as an additional problem.
Surgery may be advised as a last resort in helping you deal with severe arthritis pain. Sometimes, even if you are not in that much pain but your joints are so inflamed that motion is restricted you may be offered surgical relief. The most common surgery is joint replacement especially for the hips and knees. This surgery has become more efficient and easier to recover from and if offered, should be considered if it would radically improve the quality of your life.
Pain management can help make your pain tolerable. Remember that you have several options which include: relaxation, surgery and medications. Whichever decision you make, ensure that it adds to your quality of life.