Tips For Managing Pain

Versus Arthritis

Although there’s no cure for osteoarthritis yet, there are treatments that can provide relief from the symptoms and allow you to get on with your life.

Warmth and cold

Applying a hot-water bottle, wrapped in a towel to protect your skin, or a wheat-bag that you heat up in a microwave can help to ease pain. An ice pack, again wrapped in a towel to protect your skin, often helps to reduce swelling and discomfort. Ice can be applied for up to 20 minutes every couple of hours.

Splints and other supports

There’s a range of different splints, braces and supports available for painful joints. These can be particularly helpful if osteoarthritis has affected the alignment of a joint. It’s best to seek professional advice from an occupational therapist or physiotherapist before choosing one, so you can be sure it’s suitable for your needs.

Footwear

Choosing comfortable, supportive shoes can make a difference not only to your feet, but also to other weight-bearing joints including the knees, hips and spinal joints. In general, the ideal shoe would have a thick but soft sole, soft uppers, and plenty of room at the toes and the ball of the foot. If you have particular problems with your feet, then it’s worth seeing a podiatrist for more specific advice.

Walking aids

If your leg sometimes ‘gives way’ then a stick may help you feel less afraid of falling. When held in the opposite hand, it can also help to reduce pressure on a painful knee or hip. It’s best to get advice from a healthcare professional, as your reason for using a stick will determine which side you should use it on.

Posture

If you have arthritis, you’ll find that good posture can help to put less strain on your joints. When your posture is good, your body will feel more relaxed. Think about your posture throughout the day. Check yourself while walking, at work, while driving, or while watching TV.

Pacing yourself

If your pain varies from day to day, it can be tempting to take on too much on your good days, leading to more pain afterwards. Learn to pace yourself. If there are jobs that often increase your pain, try to break them down, allow time for rest breaks, and alternate with jobs that you find easier. Or think about other ways of doing a job that would cause less pain.

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