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The Last Page
A Look at Arthritis Pain Relief
by Eddie Tobey
In a recent survey on pain conducted by the Stanford University Medical
Center, arthritis pain was cited as the chief complaint among America’s seniors,
with thirty-two percent of the senior population listing arthritis as the
specific cause of their suffering. Arthritis does strike children and young
adults as well, although it afflicts the mature segment of the population more
frequently. It is estimated that 15% of the American adult population suffer
from arthritis, and this number is rising, increasing the demand for arthritis
Arthritis is a general term encompassing over 100 different medical conditions
that affect the musculoskeletal system, the three most common being
osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. It causes inflammation in the
joints, tendons and ligaments. It manifests in every part of the body, ranging
from mild joint stiffness to crippling disability. Sufferers experience the pain
of arthritis differently, too; for some, arthritis is at it is most severe upon
waking up, while others report that their condition worsens throughout the day.
No one knows exactly what causes arthritis, but it is among the oldest of human
The type of arthritis and intensity of the condition determine the course of
treatment. There is no cure for arthritis, but there are traditional and
alternative treatments that can bring arthritis pain relief. Prescription and
over-the-counter medications are popular for treating arthritis pain.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is often recommended for osteoarthritis patients with
little or mild inflammation, while aspirin and other nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen work best for patients with
inflammatory rheumatoid arthritis.
The healing touch of massage may stimulate the flow of blood, bringing heat and
relief to stiff joints. Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, relaxation,
yoga, and even emu oil are have proven effective for many arthritis sufferers.
Heat and cold can help alleviate pain too, but since moist heat, such as that
from a bath, acts differently than the dry heat of a heating pad or the cold of
an ice pack, this type of treatment needs to be discussed with a doctor or
physical therapist. Doctors also often recommend patients wear splints or braces
to relieve joint pressure and protect them from further injury.
Another technique, called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS),
works by blocking nerve endings from sending pain messages to the brain, so that
the pain is never felt! A small TENS device sends mild electrical pulses to the
nerve endings of the painful area, which seem to ‘scramble’ their message to the
Medications top the list for long-term arthritis pain relief, and include
several families of prescription drugs. Weight reduction, exercise, and
stretching can all go a long way toward reducing stress on joints.
Surgery may be necessary for patients with severe arthritis. The operation may
realign the joint or replace the damaged joint with an artificial one. Total
joint replacement has resulted in dramatic arthritis pain relief and improved
range of motion for many patients.
The most difficult but often the most effective pain reliever is establishing a
healthy lifestyle - eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep at night, and
daily exercise. All of these help ease the pain of chronic arthritis. Support
groups, a good physician, and making the effort to stay informed about arthritis
treatment often benefits of patients suffering from arthritis as well.
About the Author
Pain Relief Info provides detailed
information on arthritis, back, joint, lower back, natural, chronic, neck,
sciatica, knee, fibromyalgia, and muscle pain relief. Pain Relief Info is the
sister site of Acid Reflux Web.