Despite what many people may think, arthritis is not an “old person’s disease.” The fact is, about 50 million Americans of all ages live with some form of arthritis. But how do you know if you’re hurting from a sports injury or from arthritis? And if arthritis is causing your pain, how can you manage it?
Pain types: What you need to know
There are two main types of pain: Acute and chronic. Acute pain is often described as a sharp, throbbing, shooting or stinging feeling, which can be brief (burning your hand on a stove or pulling away from a knife cut) or linger after an injury or surgical procedure.
Chronic pain (aching, dull, burning or throbbing pain) is pain that lasts for at least three months. But for some people, it can last as long as six months and continue for years. Arthritis pain, migraine headaches, nerve damage and low back pain are examples of chronic pain.
Arthritis pain management: What you need to know
Many people manage their pain with over-the-counter and prescription medications, which typically do not treat the pain source. For other people, medications work best as a complementary therapy to long-term pain management techniques, which might include:
- Losing weight – Taking off extra pounds is not only great for your overall health, it will help reduce the stress on your joints, improve mobility, decrease pain and may even prevent future joint damage.
- Exercising – Staying active is great for maintaining joint flexibility. Just be sure to avoid weight-bearing workouts like running or walking, and try low-impact exercises such as water aerobics or swimming.
- Applying hot/cold therapy – Hot therapies, such as taking hot showers or baths, and using an electric blanket or moist heating pad, help ease joint stiffness. Cold treatments, like gel ice packs or a bag of frozen vegetables help ease joint pain, swelling and inflammation.
- Eating arthritis-friendly foods – Omega 3 fatty acids, which are high in fish oil supplements, have been shown to reduce joint stiffness and pain. You can also find high amounts of omega-3s in Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts. In addition, many people find that adding turmeric (a yellow spice packed with anti-inflammatory properties) to their food decreases arthritic pain.
Other helpful arthritis pain management techniques include getting regular massages, practicing meditation and taking herbal supplements. Consult your doctor before adopting a new exercise routine, nutritional program or supplement regimen.
Providing excellence in arthritis pain management in Pomona, Chino Hills and Claremont
Whether you’re experiencing the pain of an injury, or the chronic pain of arthritis, getting the expert care you need is close to home. At Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC) our experienced, board-certified physicians are ready to provide effective arthritis management strategies, tools and total support to help you stay out of pain.
For all your health needs, from family medicine to urgent care, you’ll find a commitment to prompt, convenient, cost-friendly health care at PVHC. To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 909-630-7829 or click here to use our online form.