Living with Arthritis: 3 Ways to Help Manage the Pain

Did you know there are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions? According to the Arthritis Foundation1, “arthritis” isn’t one disease, but it’s a word that describes joint pain or joint disease. If you have arthritis, your joints could swell, feel painful or lack a range of motion. Sometimes, the symptoms come and go, but severe arthritis may result in chronic pain, says the foundation2.

We know that living with joint pain may be frustrating and painful. But you’re not alone — and arthritis shouldn’t stop you from living your life. Nearly 1 out of 4 Americans has arthritis, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention3. Below, we’re going to give you brief overview of what you might do to take care of yourself and your joints.

Talk to your doctor

Because arthritis may cause permanent joint changes, you need to make sure to see your doctor, notes the Arthritis Foundation4. Your primary care doctor might refer you to a rheumatologist or orthopaedist. These doctors specialize in arthritis and its related conditions. They may help you come up with a plan to preserve your joint function, mobility and lifestyle5.

Get moving

You may reduce arthritis pain by getting between 20 and 30 minutes of exercise each day, declares the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention6. Strength training may help improve your joints, notes the CDC7. In addition, the Mayo Clinic8 suggests low-impact aerobic exercises like walking, cycling and swimming.

Explore medication options

There’s no cure for arthritis, but there are several medications that may help ease your pain. Your rheumatologist or orthopaedist will help you come up with a medication plan that meets your needs. The Mayo Clinic9 says that over-the-counter medications like Tylenol, Advil, Motrin IB and Aleve may help relieve occasional pain triggered by an activity that your muscles and joints aren’t used to. Cream that has capsaicin may also be applied to the skin over a painful joint to relieve pain, reports the Mayo Clinic10. Keep in mind that severe and prolonged arthritis pain might be sign of joint inflammation, which would require daily medication11.

4 ways to get support

Whether it’s through educational materials, support groups or therapy, there are plenty of ways to get extra support. Let’s take a look:

  • Explore CDC-recognized physical activity programs: The CDC12 offers many community-based programs that help people learn how to exercise safely and reduce joint pain. Classes take place at local YMCA’s, community centers and parks. Find out which program is right for you: https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/interventions/physical-activiy.html
  • There may be apps: Vim: The Pain Management App, created by the Arthritis Foundation13, was created to help you manage your chronic pain. It features a six-week program to help you improve your mental and physical health. Explore apps and other tools.
  • Watch a webinar: Empowering yourself with knowledge can help you feel more comfortable about managing your condition. See the webinar line-up from the Arthritis Foundation14: https://www.arthritis.org/events/webinars
  • See a therapist: Being in pain can feel overwhelming. That’s why the Mayo Clinic15 recommends seeing a cognitive behavioral therapist, who is specially trained to help you break negative cycles of self-defeating thoughts and actions.

The leading cause of disability in the U.S. is arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation16. In severe cases arthritis can result in chronic pain, making it painful to perform simple day-to-day activities, like walking or climbing stairs, says the foundation17. That’s why managing your condition is so important as you don’t want the side effects from arthritis to get worse. Whether it’s through medication, therapy or exercise, talk to your doctor about coming up with a plan on what you might do to protect your joints.

Sources

  1. “What is Arthritis?,” Arthritis Foundation, last accessed June 13, 2022, https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/what-is-arthritis
  2. “What is Arthritis?”
  3. “Living with Joint Pain,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last accessed June 13, 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/communications/features/living-with-joint-pain.html
  4. “What is Arthritis?”
  5. “What is Arthritis?”
  6. “Living with Joint Pain”
  7. “Living with Joint Pain”
  8. “Arthritis pain: Do’s and don’ts,” Mayo Clinic, last accessed June 13, 2022, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arthritis/in-depth/arthritis/art-20046440
  9. “Arthritis pain: Do’s and don’ts”
  10. “Arthritis pain: Do’s and don’ts”
  11. “Arthritis pain: Do’s and don’ts”
  12. “Physical Activity Programs,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last accessed June 13, 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/interventions/physical-activity.html
  13. “Take Control With Vim,” the Arthritis Foundation, last accessed June 13, 2022, https://www.arthritis.org/vim
  14. “Webinars,” the Arthritis Foundation, last accessed June 13, 2022, https://www.arthritis.org/events/webinars
  15. “Arthritis pain: Do’s and don’ts”
  16. “What is Arthritis?”
  17. “What is Arthritis?”