There are many conditions that cause us pain as we age, and some of them are preventable, to a degree. Arthritis, unfortunately, is not one of those conditions. You can’t prevent it, and it can’t be cured.
Arthritis is inflammation of the joints that leads to pain, stiffness and swelling. Though it can occur in any joints in the body, the hips, knees, and other weight-bearing joints are highly susceptible. In addition to pain and stiffness, arthritis can also lead to fatigue. If left untreated, arthritis can damage the joint to an extent that significantly impairs mobility and range of motion.
If you think you may have arthritis, you should speak with your doctor for a diagnosis. If you have already have a confirmed case of arthritis, you may interested in learning more ways to manage your condition.
Arthritis is Not an “Old Person’s” Disease
While it’s true the risk of arthritis increases with age, the condition affects people of every age, gender and ethnicity. In fact, according to The Arthritis Society of Canada, about 4.6 million Canadian adults are living with arthritis. That’s roughly one in six of us, just in case you’re wondering what your odds are like.
One contributing factor is thought to be injuries that did not heal properly. If you are currently debating whether or not you should seek further treatment for lingering discomfort, know that your decision may affect your quality of life for many years to come.
Establishing an early diagnosis is critical to a positive outcome since arthritis is known to get progressively worse with time. Therapies work best when started as early as possible. Once arthritis has progressed, the pain may be too great to take part in active therapies that may have the best chance at slowing the progression of the disease.
Common Arthritis Treatments
There are two main factors to consider when treating arthritis. One is reducing the inflammation to help prevent damage to the joint and surrounding tendons, and the other is managing the pain. While they are both important for obvious reasons, for many arthritis patients, pain management is the more pressing concern because of its impact on their day-to-day quality of life.
The treatment recommended by your doctor or pharmacist will vary based on the type and severity of your arthritis. In some cases, you may be able to address mild, temporary pain and inflammation with medication that is available over the counter (OTC). These medications can be taken in pill form, though there are topical creams that have shown to be effective and do not carry the same risks same risks to the liver and digestive system as oral medications.
The challenge with relying on medication for arthritis pain and inflammation is the chance that the condition will worsen with time, thus requiring increasing doses to manage the discomfort.
Managing Arthritis Pain Massage Therapy
While medication can certainly help with arthritis pain management, even prescription drugs do not come without risks. Some medications may also not be as beneficial as once believed. A Canadian doctor recently reviewed the aggregate findings from 74 studies that included data from 59,000 people living with arthritis and found that one commonly recommended OTC medication is no more effective to treat arthritis pain than a placebo.
There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that the treatment of arthritis pain through massage therapy can have significant benefits. A study in Sweden learned that osteoarthritis patients who were treated with massage therapy reported more improvements in knee pain, stiffness, walking and range of motion than those who did not receive massage treatment.
It’s important to note that massage is not recommended for patients with some conditions, like brittle bones, damaged joints and varicose veins. Be sure to speak with your primary care provider about ways that massage therapy may diminish your reliance on medication to manage your arthritis pain.
Whether it’s physiotherapy to help recover from an injury or massage therapy to help manage the pain of arthritis, Achieve Health is committed to helping our clients live pain-free. It all starts with an initial consultation at our clinic in Victoria, BC. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or book online.