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Arthritis Sufferers on a Merry-go-Round of Pain

By Joan Maughan

If you suffer with any form of arthritis you would understand how the unrelenting pain becomes part of everyday life. Arthritis is one of those insidious conditions that affect many people in many different ways. Yes, there are pain relievers available, but not everyone can take them. Some people suffer varying reactions to the medications prescribed whereas others find out years down the track that the pain relief they were getting came at a big price. Many of the pain relieving drugs can increase the risk of contracting other ailments such as heart attack, liver and kidney damage or stomach problems.

Not only do we have to cope with the pain we also have to consider carefully before taking medications that can cause further discomfort. So do we have to play Russian roulette with our health?

It is evident from the number of pharmaceutical drugs that have been recalled and/or completely banned due to the incidence of side effects not previously known, that risks do exist. While the pharmaceutical companies are governed by shareholder dividends and profit margins this situation is bound to continue. Nothing is perfect or guaranteed but we can become more aware of what we put into our bodies.

Turning to our medical professionals for advice and guidance has seemed to be the best option to follow, but they are also targets of the pharmaceutical companies who endeavor to convince doctors to "push" their particular product.

With more and more information available to consumers, we are in the position now to carry out our own research and to work in conjunction with our medical professional. We can be more confident that the medication prescribed will not only do the job, but we can also be aware of any side effects that may occur and be prepared to take the necessary precautions. We now don't have to take drugs blindly but can have input into our own health care. It is a simple matter of discussing these issues with your doctor so you are armed with the relevant facts.

Today, more than ever, medical care providers are more open to working in partnership with their patients when it comes to pain management and general health care. We really do need to take a more concerned approach to our total health and wellbeing.

Putting the pain medication risk into perspective is important so you are very much aware of how likely you are to be at risk and what that risk involves. The type of medication, the dosage and the length of time you may need it must all be weighed up. If you are taking non-prescription medication, discuss any possible risks with your pharmacist and be totally sure you understand what dosage you should take, when to take it and whether it should be taken before, with or after food.

With prescription drugs discuss all the ramifications with your doctor prior to commencing the pain management set up for you. Again ensure you fully understand how much and when you should take your medication.

When taking medication it is important to remember that many of them can affect your concentration and alertness, so you must avoid doing any activity that could put you or someone else in harm, such as driving a motor vehicle.

It is a natural reaction that we avoid using the part of our body that causes us pain and as a result we reduce our activity levels. Unfortunately this can lead to further pain and stiffening of joints as you are no doubt aware if you suffer arthritic pain. Modern pain management therapies aim to maintain mobility as much as possible and to provide activity and exercise plans to meet the requirement of the individual.

If pain is not managed and we decrease our activities this can lead to more pain, thus preventing us from activity - and so the vicious pain cycle begins. To maintain quality of life is paramount so we must find the right pain relief to suit our needs.

Of course pain relief doesn't necessarily been taking medication, there are other options available especially if your pain has not reached unacceptable levels.

Hydrotherapy has become a very popular alternative in the treatment of pain and stiff and swollen joints. The exercises performed in a hydrotherapy pool cause less strain on already painful areas than normal exercise, due to the warmth and weightless effect of the water. Alternatively swimming in a heated pool can bring relief from pain.

Physiotherapy, osteopathy and chiropractic treatment has helped many arthritis sufferers to relieve their pain. Gentle massage can also be extremely beneficial.

One important factor is diet. If you have become overweight due to inactivity, it is imperative that you shed those extra pounds. The less excess weight you have to carry around the less strain on joints such as hips, knees, feet and ankles. You should make it a goal to achieve and maintain your ideal weight; you will be rewarded by reducing the pain you are suffering.

Endeavor to learn all you can about your particular arthritis condition, the medications available and the alternative therapies that can give you pain relief without endangering your health and wellbeing in other areas.

Joan is the owner of http://www.notjustjoints.com where she provides information for sufferers of Arthritic Diseases. Joan suffers herself from arthritis and her husband has chronic rheumatoid arthritis. This led her to research and look for answers to help fellow sufferers. Visit her website for a wide range of information relating to muscular skeletal diseases - http://www.notjustjoints.com

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