Easing The Pain of Arthritis

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Arthritis Pain

Simple tips for managing without NSAIDs

Following the recall of Vioxx and subsequent safety concerns over non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other COX-2 medications, Canadian arthritis sufferers may be looking for alternatives for pain relief. If you or someone you know is an arthritis sufferer searching for safe and effective relief, here are some tips to deal with arthritis pain without using NSAIDs or COX-2s:

Medications: Pain relievers like acetaminophen are safe and effective alternatives to NSAIDs. Over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol provide arthritis pain relief and are unlikely to cause stomach upset or interact with other medications when used as directed. Prescription medications like corticosteroids and biologic response modifiers may also help reduce inflammation for arthritic sufferers.

Heat and cold: Moist heat such as a warm bath or shower may relieve pain. For others, dry heat such as a heating pad placed on the painful area of the joint for about 15 minutes may also help. And still others prefer cold therapy to help reduce swelling and pain by applying cold compresses, such as, wrapping a plastic bag filled with ice cubes, or placing a bag of frozen vegetables on the sore area.

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Joint protection: Using a splint or brace allows joints to rest and protects them from injury.

Massage: A therapist can help ease arthritis-stressed joints by massaging tight muscles. This also will help increase blood flow and bring warmth to a stressed body area.

Weight reduction: Excess weight puts additional stress on weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips. Even if a person already has osteoarthritis in one knee, weight reduction will reduce the stress in the other knee.

Exercise: Swimming, walking and stretching may reduce joint pain and stiffness. Your doctor or a physical therapist can help you plan a personalized exercise program.

Because arthritis is a chronic disease, learning to manage your pain is important to maintain a good quality of life. Be sure to discuss any new treatment program designed to minimize your pain and improve your joint function with your doctor or health-care professional before you begin.

- News Canada - (NC)

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