Do You Know How to Manage Your Pain?
Allison Tsai | Jun 22nd 2016 May 3rd 2017
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Finding the right mix of medication is most important.
You will want to start with one or more of the DMARDs, including methotrexate and biologics, to suppress the disease, and then anti-inflammatories or narcotics to deal with pain.
If your doctor refuses to prescribe painkillers, you should find another doctor.
Some doctors are concerned about prescribing painkillers for fear of substance abuse, but people with rheumatoid arthritis sometimes require powerful medication to control their pain. Find another rheumatologist or talk to your family doctor about your medication needs. Or, ask for a referral to a pain clinic.
Pain clinics only prescribe medication.
Pain clinics take a multidisciplinary approach to teach you how to live well with pain. They use a combination of pain medication, biofeedback, exercise and counseling.
Only take your pain meds when you need them.
When you have the prescription, take the pills on a regular schedule. This will ensure that you always have a certain amount of medication in your system, which can keep you ahead of the pain. When you wait to take your painkillers until you can't bear it anymore, you will never catch up.
People with RA can't exercise.
Though you may have to change how you exercise, people with RA can and should do exercises that won't hurt your joints. Exercise can keep your joints moving and strengthen your muscles, which can offer extra protection from joint damage. Swimming, water exercise, yoga and tai chi are examples.
Losing weight can ease pain.
If you are overweight, losing a few pounds can ease the stress on your joints. Eating a well-balanced diet with lots of fruits and veggies may also help control inflammation.
It's important to know your limits.
When you have a good day, you may overdo it and the next day will likely be a bad pain day. Learn to stop before you get tired and before you feel the first twinge of pain. You will be able to do more the next day if you stop while you're ahead.
For people with RA, napping is a necessity not an indulgence.
Resting can be an important part of maintaining your energy and reducing pain during the day. Whether that means a nap in the afternoon or curling up with a book for a bit, resting is important for your body.
Meditation is a waste of time.
Meditation can help you feel refreshed, relaxed and more in touch with your body and the messages it sends you.
Counseling and anti-depressants can help physical pain.
A good counselor can give you valuable coping mechanisms to use the rest of your life, as can cognitive therapy. Anti-depressants have also been shown to reduce physical pain.