Chronic arthritis pain affects millions of people in the United States each year. In fact, one in four adults with arthritis report experiencing severe joint pain related to arthritis, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Although many people with arthritis reach for medication such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), there are alternative treatments to consider for pain relief. Talk to your physician about which treatments might be best for you.
Lose Some Weight
While some might not think of weight loss as a viable treatment for arthritis, it’s important to know that extra weight puts a lot of pressure and stress on your joints. Losing weight is a positive lifestyle change that can help your joints feel better, prolong your life, and help you avoid chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. According to the Arthritis Foundation, every extra pound you carry puts four times the stress on your knees. The good news? Your knees will feel better even with a small weight loss. Look for a nutrition plan that will help you lose weight and keep it off for good.
Try TENS Therapy
TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. For this treatment, wires that are attached to electrodes are placed on the skin and connected to a small, portable machine. This portable unit sends electrical currents to painful areas, and many find that it helps ease the pain associated with arthritis. If you wear a pacemaker, you cannot use a TENS unit, so be sure to talk with your doctor to find out if this therapeutic treatment is right for you. You should also talk to your physician if you have an infection or any open wounds, as TENs should not be used if you have these conditions.
Add Fish to Your Diet
Adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet might help relieve arthritis pain, according to arthritis experts. If you enjoy eating seafood, you’ll be happy to know that certain types of fish can help reduce your pain. Essential fatty acids, also known as omega-3s, are great inflammation fighters. Omega-3s are the type of fatty acids found in fish.
Studies suggest that individuals who regularly eat fish high in omega-3s are less likely to have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). What’s more, omega-3s can help lessen pain and joint swelling in people who already have RA. Choose fish that is rich in fat, such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel.
Consider Physical Therapy
If arthritis is severe enough to limit your daily activities, physical therapy (PT) can help. The goal of PT is to help you restore function to the affected joint and to improve range of motion. You will meet with a physical therapist who will give you targeted exercises to strengthen your joints. Your physical therapist will also give you exercises to do on your own so that you can maximize your treatment while you’re at home. Physical therapy can also improve balance and help you remain active without pain. When starting an exercise program, a physical therapist can teach you proper form, so that you avoid getting injured.
Use Topical Medications
Some people use topical medications to treat the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. These pain relief medications come in the form of gels, creams and patches which are applied to the skin. Another form of topical medication includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These are available in drops, gels, sprays or skin patches. Ask your physician if topical medications might help relieve your arthritis pain.
You can take control of your arthritis without resorting to invasive surgical procedures which carry serious risks. If you’re ready to learn more about alternative ways to manage your arthritis, contact Flexogenix™ for an appointment. The experts at Flexogenix™ are experienced in a variety of joint therapies that allow your body to heal naturally, without a long recovery period.