Managing Pain

Arthritis affects people in different ways, one of the main symptoms of arthritis is pain. It may increase during a flare and then subside at other times, but for most people with chronic pain, it will never entirely disappear.

What causes pain?

The pain from arthritis can come from many different parts of your body; common physical sources of pain include bones, joints, tendons and muscles.

Pain can be influenced by many physical factors as well as your emotional state.

There are many things you can do physically and emotionally to help control your arthritis pain. Your treatment team can help develop a pain management plan to help ease your discomfort.

Physical factors that increase pain

  • Poor physical condition
  • Fatigue or poor sleep
  • Weather may affect some people with arthritis

Physical strategies to decrease pain

  • Exercise
  • Heat
  • Cold
  • Taking breaks between activities
  • Protecting your joints
  • Taking turns putting your painful body part(s) in hot and cold water
  • Massage
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulationA therapeutic modality that uses electrical stimulation to modulate pain, strengthen muscles, and enhance soft-tissue healing. (TENS)  machine
  • Creams you can rub on your skin

Psychological factors that increase pain

  • Being negative or focusing on your pain
  • Expecting that your pain will increase
  • Feeling stressed or anxious
  • Feeling depressed
  • Feeling that you are not able to cope

Psychological strategies to decrease pain

  • Keeping positive and thinking that things will get better
  • Doing things to take your mind off of your pain
  • Deep breathing
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Meditation