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What Are Some Ways To Soothe Arthritis Pain?

by | May 3, 2024 | Healthcare & Rehabilitation, Lifestyle & Wellness, Services, Wellness

While the word “arthritis” simply means inflamed joints, it encompasses a spectrum of conditions that impact our body in various ways. Beyond the familiar discomfort in elbows and knees, different types of arthritis exist, each with its own cause and treatment plan. Arthritis presents itself in two main categories: degenerative and autoimmune. Degenerative forms, like osteoarthritis, worsen over time. This occurs due to the breakdown of cartilage, the protective cushioning between bones. As the cartilage wears down, bones rub together, causing friction, damage, and inflammation. In contrast, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease. Here, the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks healthy joints, leading to painful flare-ups. While medication can help manage pain, doctors often recommend natural approaches to complement treatment plans. Furthermore, some forms can even affect other organs like your eyes, heart, and skin. This article delves deeper into how we can naturally soothe and treat various arthritis pain.


Hot and Cold Therapy Treatments

Heat and cold treatments may help relieve arthritis pain and inflammation. Heat treatments may include taking a long, warm shower or bath in the morning to help ease stiffness. You can use an electric blanket or moist heating pad to reduce discomfort overnight. Utilizing heat packs to provide comfort can be a viable option however be careful not to burn yourself. Cold treatments may help relieve joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. Wrap a gel ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and apply it to painful joints for quick relief. Never apply ice directly to the skin. Capsaicin, which comes from chili peppers, is a component of some topical ointments and creams that you can buy over the counter. These products provide warmth that can soothe joint pain.


When do I use hot or cold compress?

Heat therapy helps improve blood flow to the area where the heat is applied. It’s best for muscle pain or stiffness. Cold therapy helps reduce inflammation. It’s most helpful when used for acute injuries and pain. As a general rule of thumb, use ice for acute injuries or pain, along with inflammation and swelling. Use heat for muscle pain or stiffness.


Choosing the Right Low-Impact Exercise 

For individuals living with arthritis, staying active might seem counterintuitive due to pain and stiffness. However, regular exercise is crucial in managing the condition. Movement helps decrease pain and stiffness, improves joint range of motion, strengthens muscles for better support, and even increases overall endurance.  The key is to prioritize exercises that target the muscles surrounding the joints without putting excessive strain on them directly. Consulting a physical or occupational therapist is highly recommended. 

Here are some exercises that are recommended for seniors with arthritis:

  • Stretching: Improves flexibility and reduces stiffness.
  • Range-of-motion exercises: Maintain the ability to move your joints through their full range. 
  • Progressive strength training: Gradually builds muscle strength for better joint support.
  • Low-impact aerobics: Activities like walking, cycling, or water exercises improve cardiovascular health, mood, and weight management. 

Certain activities can exacerbate arthritis symptoms. Avoid movements with high impact and repetitive motions, such as running, jumping, tennis, high-impact aerobics, and repetitive actions like a continuous tennis serve.


Alternative Therapies To Consider

Some individuals find relief through acupuncture, where thin needles are inserted strategically by a trained professional. While it may take time to see results, acupuncture can be a valuable tool in managing pain. Massage Therapy can be considered where a massage therapist can help ease pain and stiffness, but ensure they are informed about the specific areas affected by your arthritis. Furthermore, finding healthy ways to de-stress is vital. Explore options like meditation, yoga, deep breathing, listening to calming music, spending time in nature, or journaling.  Remember, consulting a healthcare professional is crucial before starting any new therapy or exercise program. They can guide you towards a personalized approach that effectively manages your arthritis symptoms and promotes overall well-being.

Arthritis, while posing challenges, needn’t significantly hinder your quality of life. Remember, these methods are meant to complement professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program or therapy. They can assess your specific condition and recommend a tailored plan that incorporates suitable exercises,  manageable activities, and complementary therapies alongside any necessary medications. With a proactive approach that combines self-care strategies and professional guidance, you can effectively manage your arthritis and live a fulfilling life.

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Growing Needs grew out of our own encounters with caring for our aging parents and reflecting on the Growing Needs that we ourselves would face as we advance in years. We hope to build a community that will learn, share and contribute towards caring for the growing needs of our loved ones.

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