What is Arthritis Pain?
Arthritis pain refers to the pain caused by the inflammation of the joints. Arthritis can occur in people of all ages. Symptoms include an inability to move a joint normally, recurring pain or tenderness in any joint, swelling in one or more joints and redness or warmth in a joint.
How Can I Tell if I Have Arthritis?
The most common areas of the body that are affected by arthritis include the knees, fingers, hips and spine. In some people, the initial breakdown of cartilage causes no pain whatsoever, while in others it causes a deep aching and soreness or stiffness that is particularly noticeable when they move. Also, tenderness after a long period of immobility, such as first thing in the morning or after sitting through a long movie, could be a symptom of arthritis. Some other signs and symptoms include:
- Inability to move a joint normally
- Recurring pain or tenderness in any joint
- Swelling in one or more joints
- Redness or warmth in a joint
What Are The Common Types of Arthritis?13
There are three main categories of arthritis
- Degenerative (eg, Osteoarthritis)
- Inflammatory (eg, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Psoriatic Arthritis)
- Crystal arthritis (eg, gout)
Not all-musculoskeletal pain is caused by arthritis. Pain can arise from irritation of tissues around joints, such as ligaments and tendons.
Localised pain can occur in minor injury or excessive use, which can last for short period. Tennis elbow is an example of such an injury.
What Can I Do About Arthritis Pain?
Unfortunately there is no cure for arthritis, however a combination of exercise, minor lifestyle changes, proper diet and medication goes far to manage the pain and symptoms of arthritis.
Physical activity - exercise will help strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected joint, and thus help to support and stabilise the area. Exercise will also promote flexibility and prevent stiffness. Both physical therapy and recreational exercise can help but, as with any physical program, they should be discussed with your doctor first.
Lifestyle changes - such as staying off your feet periodically during the day or picking up objects with both hands instead of one, can be easy to adapt to and provide much relief to arthritic joints. A proper diet can mean taking some unnecessary weight off your joints. It will also contribute to your overall health and state of mind. Medications, such as Advil, can serve to temporarily relieve minor pains associated with arthritis.
Managing Arthritis Everyday
Know your body and its limits, and then take care to not overdo it. Find creative ways to adapt to your environment, at home or at work, such as by:
- Pushing yourself out of a chair with both hands when getting up
- Getting out of a chair every half-hour or so during a meeting or while watching a movie
- Using a pencil to dial a phone instead of your finger
- Spreading the weight of any object that you are lifting or pushing over as many joints as possible
- Keep a positive outlook on everyday life
Arthritis doesn't mean you can't do the things you want to do; it just means you might have to find a different way of doing them.
There is a new online self-management program titled ‘Challenging Arthritis’ which you can access and join www.challengingarthritis.org
Also check out Arthritis NSW for more information www.arthritisnsw.org.au