Joint pain is part and parcel with rheumatological conditions. It is certainly a big part of arthritis. One of my responsibilities as an early inflammatory arthritis specialist is to advise newly diagnosed patients in the best ways to manage pain within their daily routines. It is a responsibility I take very seriously.
Whether you are newly diagnosed or you’ve been experiencing arthritis pain for some time, you don’t have to allow joint pain to rule your life. Pain can be managed to a degree that allows you to lead the kind of life you want to lead. The trick is knowing how to manage pain based on your life circumstances.
Medications Can Help
The first step in managing joint pain is to speak with your GP, private rheumatologist, or rheumatology nurse. The clinician is the most qualified in helping you figure out what is best for you. In most cases, medications are on the table. However, medication is not the be-all and end-all for managing pain.
If you are currently taking any medications, don’t stop without first speaking with your clinician. Likewise, do not attempt to add over-the-counter pain medications without a professional consultation. Drug interactions can make joint pains worse. They could also lead to other medical problems.
Consider Low-Impact Exercise
Most cases of arthritis can be better managed with the help of low-impact exercise. In the case of osteoarthritis for example, pain can increase when joints are allowed to stiffen. How do you reduce stiffness? Through exercise.
Low-impact exercise targeting affected joints can reduce stiffness and pain. As a positive side effect, regular exercise tends to help improve one’s outlook on life. You feel better about yourself because you are up and moving. That translates into less focus on your condition and a subsequent reduction in pain perception.
Don’t Stop Moving
I cannot address exercise as a means of managing arthritis pain without also talking about the general concept of continuing to move. Unfortunately, arthritis patients are routinely tempted to limit their physical movement in order to limit the amount of pain they create for themselves. Just know though that this thinking is counterproductive.
Limiting your movement only increases stiffness and pain. So rather than asking your partner to go to the kitchen and fix your cup of tea, it’s better for you to do it yourself. Walking to the kitchen, standing while you prepare your tea, and walking back to your chair is good for you.
Low-impact housework like sweeping the floor and washing dishes can actually help you manage pain. The same is true for dusting, washing the windows, polishing furniture, and even working in the garden.
Talk Things Out
It has been my experience that the perception of chronic joint pains is made worse when patients bottle up their emotions. The antidote is to talk things out. This isn’t to say that every discussion you have should be centred around your pain. It shouldn’t. Talking incessantly about your health isn’t any better than not talking about it at all.
Rather, the idea is to find someone you can talk with when things get really bad. You need to be able to vocalise your frustrations from time to time. You might talk to a family member, friend, or even a professional.
As an early inflammatory arthritis specialist in London, I would be honoured by the opportunity to treat you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if you are suffering from any form of arthritis or rheumatological disease. You can contact me on [email protected]