The first thing most patients do is to take nonprescription medicines (like Tylenol, Advil, Aspirin, or Aleve) for pain relief. If this doesn’t work, the pain may increase to the point that surgery becomes a possibility (joint repair or replacement).
How do you manage arthritis?
There is no one best way to manage arthritis pain and no single technique that is guaranteed to give you complete pain relief. In fact, a combination of methods works best.
Think of arthritis pain management as a continuing journey. So talk to a physical therapist in Canal Winchester, OH, to get you moving in the right direction!
This is your travel guide – you can pick your itinerary based on how your symptoms are:
Step 1: Learn more about arthritis pain
Educating the patient is an essential step in pain management according to the American Pain Society. Learn all you can about your arthritis so you can break down the mental roadblocks.
Exercise Is Your Answer.
Step 2: Restore your muscle balance
- Regain your posture. Correct posture is essential. Years of compensating for a sore/painful knee or hip can result in pain in the hip, knee, or even the ankle. Sitting slouched for hours, jutting the abdomen out when standing can lead to low back pain. Our therapists at Cornerstone Physical Therapy in Canal Winchester, OH, will observe how you stand, sit, and walk and may teach you how to adjust your posture to decrease the stress on your joints, and help you move with little less pain.
- Exercise. Regular exercise helps strengthens joint-supporting muscles and improves flexibility. Our physical therapists at Cornerstone Physical Therapy in Canal Winchester, OH, specialize in arthritis treatment and can suggest appropriate movements that provide a full range of motion. Physical activity also helps blood circulation through the body and around the joints, which help bring oxygen and nutrients to assist in the healing process. Also, did you know that losing 10 pounds of excess body weight takes roughly 30 to 60 pounds of pressure off the knee?
- Protect your joints. Sore joints can stop you from doing your daily activities like bathing, dressing, writing and driving. We help you find alternative ways to perform your activities by strategically integrating ‘rest periods’ and avoiding tasks that trigger joint pain and discomfort
Do Try This At Home!
Step 3: Do-it-yourself pain relief
In addition to doing your exercises (that we prescribe) with our physical therapist at Cornerstone Physical Therapy in Canal Winchester, OH, here are a few things you can do in the comfort of your own home:
- Heat Therapy. Warming the tissues soothes arthritis pain through increased blood flow to the injured joints. It can help ease tight muscles, reduce waste products such as lactic acid that may cause soreness and stiffness. Here’s what you can do to increase temperature to affected joints:
o Hot bath or Jacuzzi
Caution: If you have cardiac problems or if you are over age 70 (as we age, our bodies do not regulate heat as efficiently) check with your doctor first.
o Heating Pads
Caution: Since moist heat is more efficient than the dry heat, you may use an electric heating pad. But be careful – it is estimated that 100,000 people burn themselves on it every year, so make sure you DON’T fall asleep with it on! Read the instructions before use. We can teach you exactly how to use a heating pad for best results.
o Contrast Bath
Use warm water (110 degrees Fahrenheit) and cold water (65 degrees Fahrenheit) for areas like hands and feet. Put your hands/feet in lukewarm water for 5 minutes, then in cold water for 1-2 minutes. Repeat this process up to 3 times to help decrease pain and swelling in the joint.
- Cold Therapy. This includes ice pack, cold compression wraps, or ice massage. It works by reducing the blood flow to the area to reduce swelling, and reducing the pain signals to the brain (making it less painful). After an acute flare-up, for the first 48-72 hours, use ice for up to 15-20 minutes to decrease pain and swelling.
- Take some Rest. Be sure to rest the injured part. You can either relax your entire body or the joint correctly by wearing a brace to protect and support the joint.
Call our office at Cornerstone Physical Therapy in Canal Winchester, OH, to see the options we have to help you get relief from your arthritis pain.