Arthritis pain: Do's and don'ts
Will physical activity reduce or increase your arthritis pain? Get tips on exercise and other common concerns when coping with arthritis symptoms and arthritis pain.By Mayo Clinic Staff
Arthritis is a leading cause of pain and disability worldwide. You can find plenty of advice about easing the pain of arthritis and other conditions with exercise, medication and stress reduction. How do you know what will work for you?
Here are some do's and don'ts to help you figure it out.
Whatever your condition, it will be easier to stay ahead of your pain if you:
- Learn all you can about your condition, including what type of arthritis you have and whether any of your joints are already damaged
- Enlist your doctor, friends and family in managing your pain
- Tell your doctor if your pain changes
Pay attention to your joints, whether sitting, standing or engaging in activity.
- Keep your joints moving. Do daily, gentle stretches that move your joints through their full range of motion.
- Use good posture. A physical therapist can show you how to sit, stand and move correctly.
- Know your limits. Balance activity and rest, and don't overdo.
In addition, lifestyle changes are important for easing pain.
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- Manage weight. Being overweight can increase complications of arthritis and contribute to arthritis pain. Making incremental, permanent lifestyle changes resulting in gradual weight loss is often the most effective method of weight management.
- Quit smoking. Smoking causes stress on connective tissues, which can increase arthritis pain.
See more In-depth
- Rosenquist EWK. Overview of the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 30, 2017.
- Factors that affect arthritis pain. Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/pain-management/understanding/arthritis-pain-factors.php. Accessed May 30, 2017.
- Natural relief for arthritis pain. Arthritis Foundation. http://blog.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/natural-pain-relief/. Accessed May 30, 2017.
- Managing chronic pain: How psychologists help with pain management. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/pain-management.aspx. Accessed May 30, 2017.
- Benefits of exercise for osteoarthritis. Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/benefits/exercise-knee-osteoarthritis.php. Accessed May 30, 2017.
- ACPA resource guide to chronic pain management: An integrated guide to medical, interventional, behavioral, pharmacologic and rehabilitation therapies, 2017 edition. American Chronic Pain Association. https://www.theacpa.org/Consumer-Guide. Accessed May 30, 2017.
- Tips for managing chronic pain. Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/pain-management/chronic-pain/chronic-pain.php. Accessed May 30, 2017.
- Smoking and musculoskeletal health. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00192. Accessed May 30, 2017.