4 Ways to Manage Arthritis

Retiree having backache
According to the Canadian Arthritis Society, over 4.6 million Canadian adults have arthritis. That’s around 1 in 6 adults. By 2036, this number is expected to grow to an estimated 7.5 million Canadian adults, which is 1 in 5 adults.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, which is inflammation of the joints which occurs when the protective cartilage and fluid inside the joint being worn down, either through injuries, or through use over time. Pain is often felt in the knees, hips, hands, and the spine. Though your doctor can provide you with oral medications that may be very helpful, we’ve provided you a list with additional suggestions to manage your arthritis.

Topical Medications
Topical medications such as gels, creams, sprays, drops and patches that are applied to the skin to relieve pain by reducing inflammation. Some forms include sodium channel blockers and NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) which can also come in oral form. Both over-the-counter and prescription topical medications are available.

Physiotherapists are licenced healthcare professionals who can perform a number of effective techniques to help with pain arising from various conditions, including arthritis. Physiotherapists can provide area massages, help move your joints through their proper range of motion, and recommend exercises to help improve your arthritis.
Massage can also be very therapeutic. Several studies have found that massage is effective in relieving pain and other symptoms especially if the pain or tension is in the neck, back or hip.

Cold or Hot Packs
Stiff joints can be relieved through hot and cold packs. Try this to see if it works for you! Cold packs and ice are typically used for acute pain, and are useful for reducing swelling and inflammation, while a hot shower or pack are usually better for pain associated with stiffness. You can experiment with hot and cold treatments for a technique which works for you or better yet, ask your doctor which type of pack would be better suited to relieve your specific pain.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is provided through a small machine which sends electric pulses to through pads placed on your skin to your nervous system. This may reduce pain in arthritis patients. Evidence for effectiveness is unclear, and it doesn’t work for all patients – so before you buy one, be sure to talk to your doctor or physiotherapist.

Though there is no cure for arthritis as of yet, you can manage your symptoms. Make sure to keep your doctor informed of your condition so that you can choose the best possible treatment which works for you.