Hey everybody, in this article I want to talk about the generally accepted best medication for arthritis pain and also offer up some alternatives as well.
I will also talk about the different things, mentally, that can help overcome the pain.
For what you can do with regard to physical methods see previous posts.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. We’ve all heard of them especially us arthritis sufferers, they are almost immediately prescribed and we are told to continually take them.
They pretty much do what they say on the bottle, they help control the inflammation. Reducing the swelling and thereby lessening the pain. These can be very effective for some people, but like most medicines, they can cause some side effects.
The main one is usually irritation of the stomach, this is very common and can lead to ulcers and bleeding. Headaches, allergic reactions and liver/kidney problems are just some other side effects.
As I say these pills can be effective for some people, but maybe there is a way we can eradicate some of these worrying side effects.
There is a misconception, that if patients use the topical (creams) NSAIDs instead of the pill form, they won’t suffer any side effects. This is incorrect, in fact, a lot of the side effects are the same, such as upset stomach, ulcers, bleeding.
I have discussed some of these in previous posts but it is worth mentioning again due to the topic here.
I touched on creams above, there are some natural creams on the market that can be just as effective in reducing swelling and joint pain. My favourite is the Boswellia Serrata cream, one tub can last a very long time, presenting value for money with none of the unwanted side effects.
There are also natural pills that are excellent for joint pain and swelling. Vitamins K2 and D can be effective and present side effects that are much less common. One issue could be with vitamin D and diabetes and your doctor should be informed if taking them, so a close eye can be kept on blood sugar levels if you are a diabetic.
Another thing I use to ease pain and stiffness are heated socks. These obviously don’t present many side effects and can prove very effective in easing pain and loosening the joint, I use these most of the year, apart from really hot days which can be rare in England!
It’s well known that stress can have a detrimental effect on the body. Needless to say, the better we are at controlling stress in our lives the better we will feel. Of course, it isn’t always easy to avoid stress, it can happen at work, at home and from other external sources.
It may not be easily avoidable, but we should make a conscious effort to keep our minds and body calm.
We should also be making sure that we get enough sleep, as this is the time our body can truly do it’s healing and repair work.
It’s advisable to get at least 8 hours and to be in bed at a reasonable time when possible, some people may even require more than 8 hours sleep a night.
In an effort to try to remain relaxed and drift into a deep sleep, I have downloaded the Calm app on my mobile phone. It is free (although you can pay yearly to access more elements), it has soothing sounds and sleep stories that I use at night in order to get to sleep quicker.
It also has meditation exercises on it, which can be great for relaxation and relieving stresses of the day. I recommend you soak in the bath and then do the meditation exercises, each one is centred around a different subject and I have found them invaluable, definitely worth trying for free!
I know that this is another subject that is easier said than done, but I believe this as well to be vitally important. When suffering from chronic pain it can become a real battle to stay positive.
Imagine the start of a boxing match, where there is the reigning champion in one corner and the underdog in the other corner. The underdog is looking to beat the champion so they become the dominant one. The champion, in this case, is the chronic pain in the body and the underdog looking to beat it, is the positivity in our minds.
I’ve mentioned before that in the middle of winter when it’s bitterly cold, it can seem like chronic pain is winning the fight. It’s landing punches so to speak and it’s beginning to feel like the underdog will fall. We have to be resilient, defiant and soak up the blows but keep coming forward.
We do this by positivity when it’s winter and it’s cold, in pain I think of what I have done in the past year. Have I moved forward? Have I managed to do more this year than last? Am I stronger than last year?
We have to focus more on the things we can do, than the things we can’t. I could sit all day and think about the many things I can’t do, but how would that help me, I choose to instead focus on what I am able to do, set goals for what I want to be able to do and keep moving forward.
Create goals, use the tools, keep moving forward
Whether you use NSAIDs or find the alternatives just as good, continue to use them regularly to manage your pain. Allow your body the healing time it needs by getting plenty of rest. Set realistic goals so you have something to aim for and focus on, you can keep them in mind on days when the pain is beating you down.
Try to stay positive, believe you can overcome and live a more pain-free life. If, we already believe we are beaten, where will we find the strength to fight back.
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”
Best of luck!