Osteo Arthritis pain is a very misunderstood subject and one that I endeavor to shed some light on. When all factors are understood it is a lot simpler. But when it is misunderstood many unnecessary problems occur and people tend to suffer needlessly.
One of the greatest misunderstandings is that there is little that you can do to help yourself with Arthritis. Well this is complete nonsense and the most important myth to clear up immediately.
There is a host of things that you can do to help arthritis pain which is not expensive and can be done in your own home…
- Hot and cold therapy
- Orthotic use.
Many of these treatments are also very useful diagnostically (help to understand everything that is causing your arthritis pain) and prognostically (help determine how much benefit you may achieve) too.
If this last statement confused you then I will explain further!
When we look at hot and cold therapy as an example we find that not only can it help your arthritis pain, but how much it helps gives us more information about what is really going on.
More specifically using cold/ice therapy is very useful to help reduce inflammation and the pain associated with inflammation.
To do this you apply cold applications (e.g a frozen bag of peas) to the affected/painful joint for 10-15 minutes.
If using cold applications gives you huge pain relief then we also know that you have had some significant inflammation and the cold has helped to reduce that.
But, if you use cold therapy and the pain is not really much better (or it is worse) then it may be that there is no significant inflammation or there are other factors that are affecting the arthritis pain.
In this case you may find that heat applied to the muscles around the joint actually helps to reduce arthritis pain and stiffness.
When we use heat as a therapy we typically use a moist heat (hot mud packs are brilliant) but at home you can use a bath/spa pool or even the showers hot water blasting your muscles. This will need to be performed for at least 10 minutes on all the muscles around the joint with hot water for best effect.
Relief from arthritis pain and stiffness using heat indicates that the muscles may be a large contributing factor to the pain you are experiencing. In some cases this will be the main source of pain. When the muscles are heavily involved it can indicate a very possible positive outcome!