– It's hard to be productive or even comfortable when you're feeling pain. We've all known the sensation of pain at one time or other but some people experience it on a more frequent basis from recurrent headaches, injury or joint pain due to arthritis. Arthritis, a group of diseases characterized by joint inflammation and/or degeneration, is a common cause of joint pain and stiffness for millions of people worldwide. Arthritis can't be cured but the symptoms, including the pain, can be controlled so you can enjoy life with less joint discomfort. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and ask how you can best manage your pain.
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Pain and Fever Relief: Reducing Pain and Inflammation
Doctors frequently recommend ibuprofen for relief of fever and aches and pains, including arthritis pain. Ibuprofen helps to reduce the underlying inflammation that fuels arthritis pain. Unfortunately, some people experience stomach irritation when they take ibuprofen. Acetaminophen is an analgesic pain reliever that's less irritating to the stomach. It reduces the sensation of pain but does little to ease the underlying inflammation. Both ibuprofen and acetaminophen offer short-term pain relief and fever control.
Topical Pain Relief - Rubs and Ointments
There are also topical treatments that help to soothe stiff, achy joints and ease the pain of arthritis. Topical creams that contain camphor or menthol act as a "counter-irritant." Counter-irritants cause mild skin irritation that helps "mask" deeper joint pain. To get the benefits, apply one of these topical medications to painful muscles or joints several times a day for relief of discomfort. Camphor and menthol formulas for joint pain and stiffness are available in several forms – a topical cream, liquid or an analgesic patch – for fast relief of muscle and joint discomfort without stomach irritation or other systemic side effects.
Cold and Hot Packs
For joint or muscle pain, heat penetrates deeply to relieve muscle spasms and to soothe stiff, achy joints affected by arthritis. Some people notice an improvement with a heatable back wrap. When you heat one of these easy-to-use wraps in the microwave, it holds its temperature for up to an hour. Wrap it around a painful area and use the closure to hold it in place while you go about your normal activities.
For stiff, painful hands, arthritis gloves apply light compression to help reduce pain and swelling while warming your hands to help reduce stiffness. These gloves fit snuggly against your hands while still giving you the freedom to grasp things and carry out your normal activities with less pain and stiffness.
Natural Arthritis Pain Relief
There are also homeopathic formulas for arthritis. These products are formulated with natural ingredients like arnica that are thought to help ease joint pain and stiffness without the side effects of medications. Several small studies show compounds in arnica help to relieve pain and inflammation and reduce joint stiffness but more research is needed to confirm these benefits.
Capsaicin that comes from hot peppers offers another natural approach to help ease joint discomfort. It's an ingredient in some topical products for arthritis. When you apply this ingredient to sore, inflamed joints or muscles, it acts as a counterirritant, helping to block the perception of pain.
As you see, there are a number of approaches to easing the pain and stiffness of arthritis. Your doctor can help you choose the one that's best for you. Be sure to tell your doctor about your medical history, including all of your medications. Include any over the counter medications or supplements that you may be taking at this time.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.