Chronic joint pain can be incredibly debilitating, undermining your quality of life and dramatically impairing your mobility. Consequently, it can impact your mental health as well as your physical well-being. If you’re struggling with arthritis (or a connective tissue disease that causes chronic joint pain) in spite of taking appropriate medication, taking these tips into consideration may help you cope.
- Practice relaxation techniques
Some evidence suggests that simple mindfulness activities like focusing on your breathing or engaging in basic meditations can reduce the pain felt in your joints. It is suspected that the pain relief comes from helping to release tension in your muscles, joints and ligaments.
- Engage in gentle exercise
You might be tempted to avoid exercise altogether if you’re suffering from chronic joint pain, but the truth is that gentle exercise may actually be good for some types of pain. Even just walking or gardening can help to reduce some of your pain, stretching out your muscles and joints. It’s also worth considering swimming, which gives your body a wonderful workout without your joints having to bear your weight. As a bonus, exercise promotes the release of endorphins–chemicals that make you feel great and help to reduce pain.
- Stick to a good sleep schedule
Many people who struggle with joint pain are left dreading bedtime, as their discomfort may worsen during the night. However, studies show that sleep deprivation can increase pain levels, so it’s vital to maintain a consistent sleep schedule in spite of an understandable aversion. You can make sleep more restorative by researching mattresses and pillows that are particularly supportive for people with chronic joint pain.
- Consider surgery
It’s smart to talk to your specialist about whether surgical interventions might be the best treatment for your chronic joint pain in the long run. For example, visiting your local orthopedic surgeon in Michigancan help you explore options for joint replacement in areas that are damaged beyond repair. If you’re advised to wait longer before considering surgery, your specialist can also review your current pain management plan and assist you in making effective adjustment.
- Use heat or cold
Depending on your type of pain, you may find either hot or cold compresses helpful. Heat helps to dilate your blood vessels, boosting circulation and inhibiting muscle spasms at the same time. Hot baths can also produce a similar result. In contrast, you can use cold to cut back on swelling around painful joints (e.g. the knee or elbow) and to numb the deep ache you feel in those joints.
- Eat well
Finally, it can be tempting to comfort eat when you’re always in pain, but eating a healthy diet helps to boost your physical strength and well-being by providing you with essential nutrients. Meanwhile, eating good food makes it easier to cultivate a slender physique, and those who maintain a healthy weight experience less joint pain due to reduced load on the joints.