In the United States, a whopping 49.6% of people over 65 suffer from arthritis. Nearly half the population! Because it is such a common ailment, it sometimes feels as though arthritis is not taken as seriously as other illnesses. While it has many pain levels, one thing we can all agree on is that arthritis hurts! It can inhibit us from having quality of life and enjoying our day, to being completely debilitated.
Once you have your arthritis diagnosis, you may be prescribed medication or physical therapy through your physician. Sometimes, you need more, and we have some tried and true methods to help ease your pain and get you moving as much as possible so you can enjoy your life with less pain.
- Hot & Cold.
When you warm up a sore joint or tired muscle, your blood vessels get bigger. This allows more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to be delivered to the injured tissues. Better circulation means more relaxation for those stiff muscles and joints.
While heat oftentimes feels better than cold, stay away from heat if you have an acute injury or are having an arthritic flare. If you are experiencing a flare or swollen joints, the application of ice or a cold compress will reduce the swelling and provide more long term relief.
- Exercise. The last thing you may want to do during an arthritis flare is move, but it is the best thing you can do. Improving circulation is one of the best ways to alleviate arthritis pain. If weights or a cardio workout seems daunting, try yoga and Tai Chi which are some of the go-to exercises to alleviate pain. They provide gentle stretching, breathwork, and the balance of energy within the body and get that circulation moving.
- Acupuncture. Since we’re talking about circulation and balancing energy for arthritis pain relief in seniors, you may want to consider acupuncture. Studies continue to validate that acupuncture relieves pain, promotes joint mobility and nourishes the cartilage to keep it from breaking down. If you don’t have experience with acupuncture or are uncomfortable with needles, breathe easy – the needles are as thin as a hair, and barely felt when they are placed and taken off. Pain relief can last up to a week, and help decrease the amount of medications you need.
- Rest. Listening to your body and knowing when to rest will decrease the frequency of arthritic flares. If you notice pain, swelling, or burning in one area, then it’s your body telling you it’s time to take a break. Remember that rest needs to be balanced, too. When you have too much rest, you can experience pain when you get back up, so be mindful. If you do experience pain while getting back up, use small, gentle movements.
- Catch some rays – within reason! Arthritis patients find that warm weather helps ease joint pain. In fact, sunlight is one of the most natural and effective treatments for arthritic pain. Of course, as an added bonus, a bit of sunlight while using a good SPF can keep our skin healthy and or cholesterol down. Win-win!
Our licensed caregivers and private duty nurses specialize in aiding those who require pain relief. Talk with us today about how we can make life easier for you as you deal with arthritis pain.