If you have arthritis, you’re not alone. Over 50 million Americans have some form of arthritis. It’s important to know that there are many ways to get relief from arthritis pain. In fact, many people with arthritis can lead full and active lives through a combination of treatments and lifestyle changes.
Making lifestyle changes
A healthy lifestyle can go a long way when it comes to managing arthritis pain. You might not realize just how much impact simple changes can have on arthritis.
1) Get active – While you might find movement to be painful, physical activity is actually really important for those who have arthritis. Exercise can help improve flexibility and strengthen muscles in order to ease tired, achy joints. Consider asking your doctor or physical therapist for help putting together an exercise routine geared at relieving pain without putting additional stress on your joints.
2) Manage your weight – If you’re overweight, dropping even a few pounds can significantly alleviate pressure on your joints.
3) Avoid smoking – Cigarette smoke can aggravate the pain associated with arthritis so it’s important not to smoke.
4) Treat yourself to massage – Some studies suggest that regular massage can help improve pain and stiffness related to arthritis.
5) Opt for an anti-inflammatory diet – Certain foods may have the ability to reduce inflammation in the body. Follow a healthy diet that includes staples like fish, whole grains, beans, nuts and fresh vegetables. Avoid sugar and processed foods.
6) Try insoles or orthotics – Properly fitted shoes can get a boost with products like Dr. Scholl’s® Pain Relief Orthotics for Arthritis Pain. These orthotics absorb the pain-inducing shock that can aggravate sensitive arthritic joints. They also help stabilize feet to reduce stress on the joints in your feet, knees and hips.
Available treatments for arthritis
There are many different treatment options available for arthritis. It’s important to work with your doctor to find a regimen that works for you.
1) Topical pain-relieving products can be applied directly to achy, painful joints for immediate relief. Common ingredients in these products include:
- Capsaicin – an ingredient that helps block pain signals
- Lidocaine – a numbing agent
- Menthol – an ingredient found in mint plants that creates a warming sensation
- Salicylates – a type of ingredient that reduces pain and inflammation
- Diclofenac sodium – a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication found in products such as Dr. Scholl’s® Arthritis Pain Reliever
2) Over the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate pain and in some cases reduce inflammation. These include:
- Ibuprofen, the active ingredient in brands such as Advil and Motrin.
- Naproxen, the active ingredient in brands such as Aleve.
- Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in brands such as Tylenol. Acetaminophen is effective for pain but not inflammation.
3) Corticosteroids can be prescribed by a doctor in order to suppress the immune response that leads to inflammation.
4) Prescription medications may be prescribed by a doctor for more severe pain that doesn’t respond well to over-the-counter medications. These include:
- Opioids – a class of drugs that block pain signals
- Biologics – genetically-engineered medications that target a specific source of inflammation in the body
- Immunosuppressants – medications that suppress the immune system’s response which causes inflammation
- Prescription-strength NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
Don’t let arthritis get you down. Understanding all of the tools available to help you manage your pain is the first step towards an active, healthy life. Work with your doctor to come up with a comprehensive plan for managing your arthritis symptoms.