Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain
How do you manage rheumatoid arthritis pain? Are there new ways or things you can
do to manage pain beyond increasing medication dosage? What is pain anyway?
Encyclopedia Britannica defines pain as a complex experience consisting of a physiological
and emotional response to a noxious stimulus. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis
pain the noxious stimulus is the inflammation of the synovium (joint lining) and
the physiological response is joint pain. The emotional response is more complicated.
Other causes of rheumatoid arthritis pain are joints that have become damaged, fatigue
which makes the pain seem worse or more difficult to handle, or depression from
inability to function as desired.
So how do you manage these causes of pain? The pain from inflammation is controlled
by fighting the inflammation. Arthritis medications and natural antioxidants will
help to reduce inflammation.
For joints that have already become damaged pain can be relieved with assistive
devices, strengthening muscles that support the joint to relieve stress on the joint,
or-as a more last resort-surgery.
Handling fatigue means taking some positive actions. First, begin an exercise program
under the guidance of a physician. Even mild forms of exercise are helpful because
exercise builds energy. Exercise also produces endorphins which help have a better
outlook on life. So exercise helps with fatigue and with stress. Secondly, planning
and organizing your time also helps with fatigue and stress. Better planning allows
for the extra rest needed for people with rheumatoid arthritis and helps to eliminate
Handling pain means breaking the cycles of fatigue and stress caused by pain which
in turn cause more pain because it is more difficult to handle pain when fatigued
Managing pain is different for each person because each person reacts differently
to pain. Different people have different tolerance levels for pain. So it is important
to find a pain management plan that works for you.
Some other things to consider for help in managing pain include: massage therapy,
warm water therapy, relaxation techniques, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve
stimulation), occupational therapy, biofeedback, and even simple things like heat
packs or cold packs.
Find what works for you and stick with it. Resolve to have a positive outlook and
do all that you can do to find ways to manage your rheumatoid arthritis pain. Even
small steps will lead to better pain management.