If you find yourself suffering from pain, stiffness, or swelling in your joints, you may have arthritis. And, you've probably found out that your symptoms can suddenly worsen from one moment to the next.
Many people live fulfilling lives with all sorts of rheumatic diseases, but when your arthritis symptoms start flaring up, your pain may be all that you think about. Through this blog, we’ll discuss how to plan for your arthritis pain, and some handy tips to keep in mind when tracking your pain management.
Plan Your Routine
With proper planning, managing your symptoms will become easier over time. Additionally, it's crucial to pay attention to when your joints hurt. There are four things you’ll want to do when planning how you're going to manage your arthritis pain:
- Learn about the condition you have.
- Learn whether or not your joints are already damaged and to what degree.
- Include your family and friends into your pain management plan.
- Include your rheumatologist and have open lines of communication in case pain worsens.
5 Tips To Keep In Mind for Pain Management
To keep yourself moving, we suggest daily stretches that allow you to move through a full range of motion. Ensure your activities are gentle on your joints by using good posture, and don’t forget to know your limits. Below are five tips to ensure your issues are under control and that you remain physically and mentally stronger than ever before.
1. Plan with Your Rheumatologist
The number one tip you need to know is planning pain management with your rheumatologist for when your arthritis flares up. Your rheumatologist will help you keep your symptoms in check and be able to prescribe treatments when needed. Allow yourself to have an open conversation with your provider, and you may learn about additional medications and treatments to alleviate your symptoms.
2. Watch for Common Signs
Having a flare-up isn’t always predictable, but knowing the potential signs may help stop them before they occur. Pay attention to things like aches in your hands, knees, or other joints. Do your aches tend to hurt more when the weather changes? Keep track of when changes to your arthritis happen so that you can prepare for future flare-ups.
3. Get the Rest You Need
While continuing to move around is good for those suffering from arthritis, when a flare-up happens it’s okay to take a break. Your body needs to recharge often, so finding the best balance between activity and resting is key to managing your pain. If you’re tired, rest for a few hours, and then attempt your gentle activities. That way, you'll give yourself a small break while sticking with your plans.
4. Emotional Health Matters just as Much as Physical Health
It’s common to think of physical well-being as the only health that matters, but you should really care about your emotional health, too. Oftentimes, having anxiety or stress will add to your issues when arthritis pain happens. These types of stressful events may increase inflammation and pain. Try to do events that aid in stress relief when you know that you’re going to get a flare-up soon. Some of the stress-relieving actions may be:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Relaxation therapy
5. It’s Okay to Slow Down
Similar to knowing when you need to take it easy and rest, slowing down is something you may want to consider. Moving is a great way to help your joints, but knowing the right activity at the correct pace is also important. Avoid high impact motions like running, tennis, jumping, and anything repetitive. Don’t feel as if you need to be more active to help improve symptoms of arthritis - take your time and complete your movements with quality rather than quantity. Additionally, always remember that if something causes more pain, stop that activity immediately.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Forget Hot and Cold Elements
One of the best things to remedy joint pain is to utilize hot and cold compresses. This age-old solution to ease flare-ups can help soothe any discomfort you may be having. Using heat on or near the site of pain increases blood flow and calms the area. Then, the coldness restricts blood flow and helps ease inflammation. Make sure that these treatments alternate and are done at 15 minute intervals.
Manage Your Pain with Voyage Healthcare
At Voyage Healthcare, our rheumatology department is here to help you every step of the way, from diagnosis to managing your pain. We have all the resources you need to get you back to living a happy, healthy life, whether you suffer from rheumatic diseases or not. We hope that through these pain management tips you’ll be able to better understand how to alleviate any discomfort. If you don’t suffer from arthritis pain but know someone who does, let them know you’re thinking about them with this helpful information.
Schedule an appointment with our rheumatologist to develop a pain management routine that fits your lifestyle so you're able to enjoy all the things you love, pain-free.