Arthritis & pain stop

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

The treatment of arthritis is often the treatment of pain.

Here is a list of treatments that are often used:

Medications are often used to reduce pain. Analgesics (pain-relievers) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the most often prescribed drugs. In patients for whom these drugs are ineffective, narcotic analgesics are sometimes used.

Morning stiffness is often relieved by the use of hot showers or baths. Assistive equipment such as hot packs, electric blankets, heating pads, hot tubs, and saunas may also be beneficial. Paraffin wax baths for the hands can be comforting.

Cold therapy, otherwise known as cryotherapy, is a preferred treatment for some people.Cold works to relieve pain by numbing nerve endings. It also decreases blood flow and reduces inflammation.

Pain relief can also be hastened with massage.

Low impact cardio, resistance training, and stretching are all needed for arthritis patients as part of a comprehensive arthritis treatment program.

Pain can also be an indicator of the need for rest. It is important to pay attention to the signal and allow the body the required time to "recharge". It is important to strike a balance between rest and exercise.

Other non-medicine therapies
Deep breathing- Slow, rhythmic breathing can help reduce pain.
Progressive relaxation is another helpful modality.
Creative or Guided Imagery- Using the mind to conjure up happy times and pleasant places is helpful.
Biofeedback uses special machinery to help control physiologic responses such as blood pressure, muscle tension, heart rate, and temperature. Biofeedback uses a combination of relaxation, visualization, and signals from the biofeedback unit to gain control of pain.

Pain Clinics
The approach is usually comprehensive and encompasses medication management, nerve blocks, physical therapy, relaxation training, counseling and support.

TENS/Electrical Stimulation
TENS or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, uuses low-voltage electrical stimulation to the nerves to block pain signals to the brain. Electrodes are placed on the skin and emit the electrical charge. This is used primarily for chronic, localized pain which is intractable.

Surgery can be performed with the goal of eliminating pain in a specific joint. Joint replacement surgery has become more common over the years, and is regarded as a viable option when all else has failed.

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