If you suffer from joint pain and stiffness due to arthritis, you need to be proactive about pain management. Rather than grin and bear the pain, consider the following methods to help you feel better. If you're concerned about side effects from pills or injections, here are a few all-natural ways to ease your discomfort and manage your condition.
1. Ask Your Physician to Prescribe Physical Therapy
If you've tried other treatment methods with little success, consider physical therapy to help loosen stiff joints and make you more mobile. Your pain may be more easily managed through physical therapy. Your doctor can set you up with physical therapy by a licensed professional who will evaluate your case and prescribe a treatment program.
Therapy sessions may take place once a week and then be reduced to every other week until improvement is noted. Your physical therapist will test your range of motion and then teach you proper body mechanics for daily practice. The therapist may also teach you exercises that target the specific area that is affected by inflammation, pain, and stiffness.
In addition to exercises with or without the use of special equipment, the physical therapist may recommend another form of physical therapy known as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), which may temporarily relieve the pain of your arthritis. The therapist will use a machine with electrode patches that are placed on the site of your pain. Basically, this method utilizes electrical stimulation to trigger your body's endorphins to ease pain.
2. Get a Massage
Having your joints and muscles massaged regularly may help you manage arthritis pain. Massage may also help relieve some of the stiffness associated with your condition. Research has shown the benefits of massage, and it has found to be helpful for some individuals. If you suffer from joint stiffness and pain in your hands or wrists, you may benefit from massage to those areas as well.
The key to a positive result is to use moderate pressure with massage. Doing so will help reach the pressure receptors. You may also notice that massage helps reduce stress and anxiety. Either try self-massage at home or consider going to a massage therapist or a spa.
3. Apply Hot or Cold Packs
You can experiment with both heat and cold applications to note which works best for you to relieve pain. As a general rule, ice packs or cold compresses helps relieve inflammation and swelling of affected joints.
Try some ice after exercising or working. However, if your joints feel stiff, especially in the morning, you might want to try heat. Use a heating pad or some form of moist heat for pain relief and to loosen the stiffness.
4. Consider Water Exercises
Swimming or most any water exercises may be helpful in managing your arthritis pain. Aquatic exercises are low impact and will not place stress on the joints. You may find your stiffness and pain are greatly reduced by participating in water-based activities. Swimming and water walking may also improve your range of motion.
If you have access to a swimming pool at home, use it on a regular basis. Otherwise, consider taking swimming or aquatic exercise classes. If you have never done this type of activity before, having an instructor guide you will be a good idea.
5. Watch Your Diet
You may not have considered the connection between diet and arthritis, but it is something to think about. An anti-inflammatory diet may help you feel better and ease your pain. For starters, you might want to increase your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids. Foods that are rich in Omega 3 help fight inflammation.
Consider eating more salmon, sardines and tuna. Fish oil supplements may be beneficial as well. Before taking any type of supplements, speak with your healthcare provider.
Make an appointment with the Specialists in Pain Management today, and learn which natural pain management options may work best for you.