I never thought of myself as an addict, but I did end up addicted to anti-anxiety medication after developing Generalized Anxiety Disorder. At some point, the medicine stopped being a way to deal with the nervousness and panic attacks, and became something my body craved. I knew that I needed help fast. Fortunately, a local drug rehab program includes support for people like me. They helped me wean off the medication, use methods like massage therapy to help my nerves heal, and even provided ongoing counseling for our family. I don't know how I would have made it without their help. If you suspect that your medication has crossed the line from being helpful to hurtful, take heart. Let me tell you about my journey out of addiction and back to wholeness.
Depending on the type of arthritis you have, reducing pain and/or the underlying disease process through medication will be your primary objective. Fortunately, there is more you can do beyond your medications to improve pain and increase daily functioning.
Fight Back Against Fear
When your joints hurt, it is understandable that you will reduce your physical activity, and the fear of pain can make you even more sedentary. Unfortunately, the more inactive you are, the more you will find yourself facing physical limitations in the future. The more sedentary you are, the more lean body mass decreases, which makes you prone to developing osteoporosis. Additionally, increasing body fat and decreasing muscle will be harder on your joints. If you are afraid to try an activity because you are concerned about pain, choose a simple activity and take baby steps. For example, if you want to work on your strength, use resistance bands. Try a single bicep curl using the resistance bands and allow your body to dictate how much you can do. Being uncomfortable is to be expected, but stop if you experience excruciating pain. Sometimes the fear of making matters worse never comes to fruition.
Ask About Physical Therapy
Even if you have mild arthritis, an evaluation by a physical therapist can be useful. A general evaluation by your physical therapist will give you the opportunity to discuss the various ways arthritis causes pain and limits daily activities. Your physical therapist will likely watch how you walk and do small exercises with you to gain a sense of the way your body moves. Although your arthritis pain might affect a specific joint, you may not realize working on other joints could improve pain. For example, problems with the muscles in the hips might translate into instability in the knee and make your pain worse. You can try different methods for alleviating your knee pain, but until you work on your hip muscles, you may not walk in a manner that places the appropriate amount of pressure on the knee joint.
Whether your physical therapist suggests supportive devices or you simply purchase them online, different types of braces can be critical when you have arthritis that affects multiple joints. Using supportive devices should be part of an overall joint protection strategy. Sometimes brief periods of immobilization or limited range of motion can ease pain caused by tendon or nerve inflammation, or reduce the amount of swelling that occurs in a specific joint. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you generally want any supportive devices to give you some range of motion, because keeping a joint still might cause it to become painfully stiff. Other supportive devices you should include when necessary are those that help you with walking. Many people are opposed to using a cane or walker even if they need it occasionally. Although using a cane or walker might make you "feel old," it is a much better option than risking significant joint injury or falling.
A combination of approaches is necessary to fight back against the damage caused by arthritis and continue outpatient therapy. In addition to current treatments, incorporating more physical activity and using braces and mobility aids can reduce pain and limitations.Share