Arthritis Pain Management in Charlotte, NC

Arthritis is an extremely common disease affecting millions of people all over the globe each year. There are three general categories of arthritis: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile arthritis. 

Osteoarthritis is caused by repeated stress or impact on the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is categorized as an autoimmune disorder. Rheumatoid arthritis creates inflammation in the joints, which can be quite painful. Juvenile arthritis (JA) is a form of arthritis associated with children ages sixteen and younger and can involve multiple systems within the body.

Because it is a chronic illness, arthritis pain management is crucial for your mental and physical well-being.  Managing your arthritic pain can aid in reducing symptoms such as joint pain and stiffness, as well as improve mobility. All of these can help increase the overall quality of your life and help to prevent further damage to the joints. 

Typical pain management techniques usually include a combination of physical therapy and OTC or prescription medications. Also usually included are lifestyle changes (like exercise or weight loss if needed), heat and cold therapies, dietary supplements, and acupuncture.

No matter what type of arthritis is diagnosed or the severity of  your symptoms, management of your arbiter pain can support you in living an active and healthy life without being hindered by increasing joint discomfort and pain.

Common Causes of Arthritis Pain

One of the most common causes of arthritis pain is inflammation. When your joints become inflamed, they can swell, creating stiffness and pain in the affected area(s). This is known as inflammatory arthritis and its presence usually indicates some sort of autoimmune disorder or underlying infection within the body.

Osteoarthritis commonly occurs after repeated wear and tear on the joints. As bodies age, our joints lose flexibility and become more prone to injury from common or simple tasks such as walking or carrying heavy objects. This ultimately leads to joint deterioration and then eventually, osteoarthritis pain.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) occurs when your body’s immune system accidentally attacks your healthy tissue within your joints, rather than protecting it from infection and injury, the way it normally would. This disruption in the body’s function ultimately creates inflammation in the affected areas which then leads to signs and symptoms such as joint damage and chronic pain.

Juvenile arthritis (JA) occurs in children ages sixteen and younger. The exact cause is currently unknown, but is thought to be due to a variety of factors, like environment and genetic makeup. Common signs and symptoms that often occur include fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes.

Whatever sort of arthritis you have or your symptoms, speaking with a licensed healthcare professional about treatment options to reduce your pain levels and improve your quality of life.

How to Manage Arthritis Pain

Arthritis can trigger significant pain and discomfort. While there’s currently no cure, thankfully arthritis pain can be managed.

Stay Active

Exercising reduces the stiffness as well as helps to strengthen muscles and joints affected by arthritis. Swimming, walking, and cycling are all smart, low-impact exercises that may help.

Utilize Heat Therapy

Use of heat therapy can aid in the reduction of joint pain triggered by arthritis. Apply heat via warm baths, heating pads or bottles, or enjoy a spa system. Heat will help relax tense muscles, as well as increase blood flow to the area, reducing inflammation and joint stiffness.

Chat With Your Doctor

While over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may provide relief from milder forms of arthritis pain, there can be times when it may not be enough.  It’s always best practice to speak with your doctor about other options if you have concerns regarding your specific health situation.

Utilize Nutrition

Use of a nutritious diet can aid in managing arthritis

 too! Try eating some foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon or flaxseed). Good nutrition can help reduce inflammation and play a role in symptom reduction.

Other Non-Drug Related Treatments

Non-drug-related treatments for arthritis have the risk of reducing pain and inflammation without medical intervention. Non-drug treatments include physical therapy, exercise, diet changes, and lifestyle modifications.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is one of the most commonly utilized non-drug treatments. A good physical therapist will teach you exercise to improve your range of motion and strengthen your affected joints. Physical therapists  also will provide you with the important guidance of protecting your joints from more damage.

Lifestyle Modifications

Lifestyle modifications can also have a huge impact on the reduction of arthritis symptoms. Increased stress levels have been linked to increased inflammation, so finding ways to relax can be very beneficial. Activities like yoga or meditation can boost mental health and help reduce physical symptoms

Also, if you’re a smoker, stopping tobacco use has been proven to decrease chronic pain levels, as well as reduce the other health risks associated with smoking cigarettes, like cancers.

How to Communicate Types of Pain

When communicating types of arthritic pain with your healthcare provider, try to be as specific as possible. Being a log or your symptoms and/ or a pain journal to your appointment. Details where exactly your pain is located, how long it has been present, and anything that makes it worse or better. Don’t forget to document your arthritic symptoms like swelling, stiffness, and fatigue. Keeping track of your pain level and symptoms can help identify if there are any potential patterns to your pain levels.

Also, don’t forget to let your healthcare provider know treatments have and have not worked so they can adjust their treatment plan accordingly. Never be afraid to ask questions regarding your treatment option! Advocating for yourself will empower you to make the best possible informed decision about your care.

Arthritis Pain Treatment For Your Arthritis Pain

Here at Carolinas Pain Center, we strive to provide patient-centered, compassionate care for your arthritis pain. We will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan to manage your pain and reach your health goals. Contact us today for an appointment!