Understanding your arthritis pain's patterns can help you manage it better.
Dealing with arthritis pain is no easy task, and it's understandable to want to think about it as little as possible. However, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to pay attention to your pain. You may find that what it is telling you can help you to get relief now and manage it better in the future. Here are a few tips:
If you live with arthritis symptoms, it's not uncommon for you to experience significant variations between one day and the next. Keeping a journal lets you record what each day brings as well as your level of pain. Over time, you may notice patterns that give you hints about how to manage your arthritis pain. For example, if late evenings at work tend to come before days with high pain, you can reasonably conclude it's not in your best interest to push yourself too hard. If, on the other hand, staying in bed all day due to pain doesn't seem to help, it could be time to try gentle activity instead of total rest.
Arthritis pain can change over time, and may be influenced by a variety of different factors. Research into your own specific type of arthritis and how pain typically behaves for those who have it is a great idea. Rheumatoid arthritis follows a different trajectory and causes other types of pain for those who have it than osteoarthritis does, and conditions like gout and ankylosing spondylitis are different yet again. Read books, consult reputable websites and speak to people you know who also have these conditions to see whether you can put together a picture of what your arthritis pain may look like, and of what might help relieve your symptoms. Then bring this information up with your doctor.
The doctor who treats your arthritis is a great source for pain management advice. His or her counsel will be even better if you can provide information about what you are experiencing that is as detailed and informed as possible - that's where journaling and research come in. Armed with the best knowledge available, you and your doctor can devise a strategy for arthritis pain management that will help you make the most of your days.
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