Back pain from arthritis of the spine can interfere with your quality of life. In severe cases, it can keep you from sitting for extended periods of time, walking, climbing stairs or engaging in other parts of daily life. Thankfully, between self-care and professional treatments, arthritis pain can often be effectively managed.
Managing Arthritis Pain With Self-Care
Most patients employ a range of self-care methods at home to reduce their arthritis symptoms. Which are the most effective can be highly individual and may depend on the severity of your arthritis, whether you are suffering from related conditions, and your general state of health.
Researchers have learned that there are a number of coping techniques that can reduce pain and help manage arthritis symptoms. Some individuals find relaxation techniques like meditation helpful. Others get help from hypnosis, biofeedback or visualization techniques.
Heat and Cold Therapy
Heat and cold therapy can each be helpful at different times. A heating pad or a few minutes in a whirlpool can help loosen stiff back muscles and reduce pain.
Ice packs can be applied for 15 to 20 minutes at a time to decrease swelling and numb pain. Ice is most effective when you are treating swelling that is the result of physical activity.
If you are experiencing severe back pain, this can be a sign that your spine and the surrounding muscles and tissues need rest. Often, physical activity can exacerbate symptoms and rest will provide some relief. Many people whose arthritis causes lower back pain can get some relief by lying down in a fetal position on a firm mattress for a couple of hours. This position takes pressure off the involved joints to allow them to rest.
Stretching and Strengthening Exercises
When your muscles around your spine are strong and flexible, they are better able to support your spine and reduce your levels of spinal pain. Your doctor can discuss gentle exercises that will help you find relief from your arthritis symptoms.
Massage and Chiropractic
These are conservative treatment options that can provide relief from arthritis pain. Massage helps relax muscles. This, in turn, reduces the pressure on nearby joints. Many people also find that chiropractic allows them to enjoy less stiffness and pain.
Facet Joint Injections
Arthritis of the spine can often cause pain in the facet joints, which are the joints around the bones in the spine. Injections of local anesthesia can block pain at the source to provide spinal relief.
Stem cell therapy and other regenerative medicine options have the power to reduce pain and help individuals with arthritis of the spine find relief. Stem cells, for instance, are created by your body and can become nearly any type of cell. Research indicates that they may eventually be able to replace worn cartilage. We can discuss regenerative medicine options with you to find one that can provide relief.
Medication is often one of the first lines of defense against the pain associated with arthritis of the spine. When over-the-counter options do not work, we can explore a range of prescription options. Some, such as muscle relaxers, help you experience pain relief by relaxing surrounding muscles. Prescription anti-inflammatory medications can be more effective when over-the-counter ones no longer work. We can discuss your arthritis management options with you to find the best mix of medication and other therapies.
You do not have to live with arthritis pain. There is a range of treatments available that can help tackle the pain, stiffness and other symptoms to help you resume your everyday activities.