Arthritis Flare and Pain Relief

Arthritis is an inflammatory condition of the joints. Symptoms include pain, swelling, reduced range of motion and stiffness. There are more than 100 forms of arthritis, but the most common is osteoarthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, 21 percent of adults have a form of doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Treating arthritis flare-ups and pain is important to successfully controlling the condition. Medication, lifestyle changes and home remedies can decrease arthritis symptoms. There is no cure for the condition, but controlling they symptoms can provide relief.

  1. Medications

    • Take over-the-counter medications before performing activities that will cause a flare-up. Acetaminophen, or Tylenol, is one of the first medications recommended for arthritis treatment. Take up to 2 g a day, recommends the National Institutes of Heatlh. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, include Advil and Motrin. Naproxen sodium, sold as the brand name Aleve, will also decrease pain. Understand that NSAIDs and naproxen sodium have potential side effects, including heart attack, strokes and ulcers. Discuss with a medical professional how and when to take these medications. Understand as the disease progresses, stronger pain medications will be needed. Corticosteroid injections and other prescription drugs can decrease inflammation to the affected area.

    Physical Therapy and Exercise

    • Work with a physical therapist to create an exercise program to relieve joints from paint and swelling. A specific program may include aerobics, stretching, range-of-motion and strength-training activities. Follow the routine to reduce swelling and joint fatigue. The National Institutes of Health also suggests water therapy, hot/cold therapy, ice massage and transcutaneous nerve stimulation for additional relief.

    Lifestyle Changes

    • Remember that rest is just as important. The National Institutes of Health recommends 8 to 10 hours of sleep a day. Do not overexert your body or joints by placing additional stress on the affected body parts. Reduce stress from other sources; go for walks, meditate or simply close your eyes and listen to soft music. Use deep breathing exercises --- perhaps take a yoga or tai chi class. Use a variety of medical assistive aids, such as grab bars and gripping tools, to make living at home easier. Work with an occupational therapist to learn new methods of functioning around the home ---from opening a glass jar to turning on the shower.

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