NEWSLETTER The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body
FINDING HELP FOR ARTHRITIS PAIN
Understanding Arthritis Pain Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic condition to affect the joints. Almost 30 million adults in the United States struggle with the condition, and while it can influence anyone of any age, it most frequently develops among those who are most prone to overuse—those who are over the age of 65. Arthritis occurs when there is a breakdown of the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones. This cartilage iswhatallows the joints in theelbows,ankles, kneesandhips tomovewith freedom.Withoutcartilage, the bones would rub against one another with each movement, and would cause extreme pain. As the cartilagebreaksdown,so, typically,does thebone,and as theshapeof the jointchanges itbecomesevenmore difficult for it to function smoothly. Furthermore, the ligamentsand tendonsaround the jointwilloftenstiffen, and the muscles surrounding the joint will weaken, making italtogethermoredifficultandpainful tomove.
When you experience an injury, dealing with the pain that comes as part of the aftermath is expected. While painful, most of the time when recovering from an injury you can find comfort in the knowledge that the pain is temporary. As your body heals, as you go through the motions of building your muscle mass back and improving flexibility with physical therapy, you know that in time you will feel like yourself again. This knowledge gives you something to work towards, and helps the pain feel more manageable—even when it is intense, and never-fleeting. Arthritis pain is different. Arthritis doesn’t develop as a result of an injury, but instead develops over time as a result of chronic use, or even as a result of genetic disposition. This can make dealing with the pain of arthritis even more difficult to cope with, as it begs the question: if the pain is coming from inside the joint, is there anything I can actually do about it?
While arthritis pain typically develops gradually, the realization of what you are dealing with can still come as a shock. In some circumstances the pain will appear more abruptly, especially when the pain develops in association with a change in weather or other environmental circumstance. Overcoming Arthritis Pain Turning to over the counter pain medications to cope with arthritis pain is ineffective as a long-term solution. While some of the medications may provide temporary relief, they will not help you overcome the pain for good. Physical therapy, on the other hand, can provide actual relief from arthritis by helping to rebuild strength in the joints through targeted movements and flexibility exercises.
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