Arthritis is debilitating for many Americans. The pain is so debilitating that it is life changing. It places severe limits on your daily leisure and work activities. When asked, an arthritic patient will tell you that if you had to put their pain level on a scale, they would rate seven to 10, and some would rate yours off the scale.
There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and other diseases that are related to it. The main types of arthritis are:
Each of these can cause a person different pain in different ways and this is where professional pain management comes in handy. Symptoms of pain can range from having a fever to experiencing a rash.
As painful as it is, pain has a purpose. It’s your body’s way of telling your brain that something is wrong. You are telling your brain that you have a problem and need attention. Pain is your body’s natural protective response.
Causes of arthritis pain
With arthritis and its related diseases, pain is commonly felt in the joints of the body. Each person will experience it in different ways, from a burning sensation to a tight or tingling sensation. It can be a constant dull ache or frequent sharp pains. Regardless of the type of pain you experience, pain management is something that every person seeks.
The following can cause joint pain from arthritis:
• Joint and tissue inflammation common in psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
• Bones rub together because cartilage and lubricating fluids are depleted, causing the bones to rub together, common in osteoarthritis.
• Joints swollen by uric acid crystals build up, as is common in gout
The National Center for Health Statistics reports that more than 76 million Americans suffer from chronic pain and more than half of them are said to be from some form of arthritis. So with such a widespread problem, you have to wonder if anything can be done to control the pain.
Well, there are plenty of medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, to help you manage pain. They need to be used correctly and when they aren’t, which is very common, the potential risks are staggering. Even when taken as directed, many of them can cause harm after a period of time.
That is why more and more people are willing to explore alternative therapies and treatments to find that pain relief. And luckily, there are plenty of options out there today, some of which we’ll review here:
1. Topical medications
• Creams, gels, and patches are popular. They are applied to the area of the body where pain is experienced and provide sodium channel blockers such as lidocaine or prilocaine. These are available without a prescription and there are also prescription NSAIDs that come in the form of drops, gels, patches, or sprays.
2. TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
• The TENS unit is a pocket-sized device, which makes it excellent because it is portable, sending electrical current through electrodes and wires that are placed in pain areas. This is not a recommended pain management method for anyone who has infections, open wounds, or a pacemaker.
3. The right footwear
• More than thirty percent of those with osteoarthritis are not wearing the right shoes. What researchers have found is that flat, flexible shoes, such as flip-flops or sneakers, reduce the amount of force that is exerted on the knee joints by up to 15 percent.
4. Steroid injections
• Corticosteroids or steroids as they are more commonly known. They are the synthetic version of the hormone cortisol and reduce inflammation, providing pain control.
These are just four ways a person with arthritis can find help with pain management. A pain doctor may prescribe one or more of these at the same time along with prescription medications.
Written by Audrey Thompson