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Arthritis: Techniques to help manage pain

Posted by Eamonn Brady on


You may have to accept that sometimes medicines, physical therapies and other treatments cannot relieve all of your pain. Pain may limit some of the things you do, but it doesn’t have to control your life. There are many techniques you can use to cope with pain so you can go on living your life the way you want to. Your mind plays an important role in how you feel pain. Thinking of pain as a signal to take positive action can help turn it to your advantage. Also you can learn ways to manage your pain. What works for one person may not work for another, so you may have to try different techniques until you find what works best for you.


Ways to manage your arthritis pain:

  • Make sure you are making the most of your medicines and physical therapies
  • Visit your doctor regularly to make sure you are getting the best treatment for your arthritis symptoms.
  • Take care of your body. Exercise to improve your fitness and strength, eat a healthy diet, and get a good night’s sleep every night.
  • Use heat and cold treatments for extra pain relief. A warm bath or shower, or a heat pack placed over a painful joint for 15 minutes, can provide effective pain relief.
  • An ice pack may reduce swelling and relieve pain in the same way. Ask your doctor or physiotherapist which type of treatment (hot or cold) is best for you
  • Find some distraction techniques that work for you. These may include exercising, reading, listening to music, or seeing a movie. Anything that focuses your attention on something enjoyable, instead of your pain, will help you.
  • Learn some relaxation techniques. When you are stressed, your muscles become tense, making pain feel more severe. Relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing help decrease muscle tension.
  • Ask your physiotherapist about transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). A TENS machine applies very mild electric pulses via small electrodes (pads) to block pain messages going from the painful area to your brain. TENS can be very useful for longer-term pain but does not work for all people. You should see a physiotherapist to trial a TENS machine, and to learn how to use it correctly.
  • You may find massage and acupuncture useful to help control pain and improve relaxation.


Educate yourself about your condition

Whelehans Pharmacy, in conjunction with Arthritis Ireland (Westmeath Branch) are hosting a Rheumatoid Arthritis Information event this week (Wednesday Oct 12th at 6:45pm) in the Greville Arms Hotel in Mullingar. Admission is free.

The guest speaker for the evening will be an expert in this field, Consultant Rheumatologist from Midland Hospital Tullamore, Killian O’Rourke MD MSc FRCP FRCPI. Dr O’Rourke will give first hand information on the condition along with tips on what you can do to help you help yourself including information about surgery and aftercare for those thinking of going down this line. He will take questions from attendees.

Chartered physiotherapist Kevin Conneely MISCP of HealthStep Physiotherapy Mullingar will discuss the role of physiotherapy in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), such as the benefits of manual therapy, the importance of a tailored and comprehensive exercise program.  The final speaker is pharmacist Eamonn Brady MPSI who will discuss medication.

This article is shortened to fit within Newspaper space limits. More detailed information and leaflets is available in Whelehans

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