Chronic joint pain

How to deal with chronic joint pain?

Chronical joint pain
In the UK, around 10 million people have arthritis. Osteoarthritis affects around 8 million people and rheumatoid arthritis affects more than 400,000. Furthermore, in the US more than 50 million Americans today suffer from some form of Arthritis. These conditions are usually associated with chronic joint pain. It is therefore not understandable that most painkillers are prescribed to people suffering from these joint problems. There is a separate article on pain relief in osteoarthritis on our website.

On average, you talk to your treating physician three hours a year. The remaining 8757 hours you have to be totally self-supporting. Therefore, it is important to learn how to deal with your pain better.

Where does that pain come from?

Pain that lasts for three months or longer and does not respond to medical treatment is referred to as ‘chronic pain’. In osteoarthritis, the pain has a different cause than rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a disease in which the cartilage in the joints deteriorates. Then, broken cartilage fragments will end up in the joint fluid. As a result, the mucous membrane on the inside of the joint capsule becomes inflamed. This results in pain, swelling and stiffness of the joint. Eventually, ‘bald’ spots will develop on the bones in the joint that rub over each other while moving. This bone-to-bone contact can result in chronic joint pain.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. Due to a malfunction in the immune system, specific proteins are produced causing inflammation in tendons, muscles and joints. As a result, the mucosa produces more fluid and swelling occurs. This increases the pain in the joints. Ultimately, the cartilage can also be affected by inflammatory processes that is continuously happening in the joints.

Pain relief with paracetamol and NSAIDs

Your GP will initially advise you to use Paracetamol in joint pain. This drug has a mild analgesic effect. This is sometimes enough to make the pain bearable. However, in many cases, after prolonged use of paracetamol, pain relief decreases as the liver can break down the active substances faster. Paracetamol is therefore not a long-term painkiller.  Because paracetamol is virtually without side effects it should be given a first chance, and deserves absolute preference over all sorts of heavier drugs.

In severe chronic joint pain, where paracetamol is not sufficient, the physician will usually prescribe anti-inflammatory inhibitors, such as an NSAID. These have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. However, the use of these NSAIDs is accompanied by a series of side effects. These include gastrointestinal problems, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ulcers, increased blood clotting, decreased blood clotting and fluid retention. That is why many patients stop using these medicines prematurely. And that’s a painful choice!

Pain in severe cases of joint pain

Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, are also used for chronic joint pain. In addition, especially when used for long periods of time, side effects occur because these medications affect the hormone balance. For example, you can experience weight gain (especially common in the face), the skin becomes thin, wounds heal more slowly, the bones become more fragile (bone loss/osteoporosis) and some experience issues with eyesight. Cortisones can also cause the cartilage deteriorate further. Most of the time, they are only used for a short period of time to prevent further aggravation of joint problems.

There are also heavier medications against pain, also known as opiates. Tramadol and morphine belong to this group. It is generally known that the use of these drugs is definitely not without side effects, for example, drowsiness which means that you can no longer drive a car. Nausea also regularly occurs as side effects. Additionally, opiates are extremely addictive, so you may need an ever higher dose. These opiates are therefore prescribed when all other options have failed.

Pain Specialist Pete Moore: Accept pain!

Persistent pain can have a big impact on your quality of life. It can cause a lot of frustration. And this can again determine how you deal with your family, friends and colleagues. The British pain specialist Pete Moore has written several books on self-management in pain. There, he encourages patients to play a more active role in reducing the problem. His main advice is that you have to accept that you suffer from chronic pain. However, that does not mean that you just have to take it for granted. Accepting in this case means: you realize that you need to take action to address the complaints. The next step is to make a plan of action. In addition, it is important that you properly measure your activities and provide enough rest and relaxation. Moore also advises to reserve some free time daily for physical exercise. Therefore, the pain will decrease because the body will be better prepared for physical strain. In addition, your muscles will become stronger in order to get better support for and relieve your affected joints.

More tips for joint pain

The Rheuma Fund also has a number of tips to get more grip on joint pain. For example, an ice pack can relieve inflammatory pain. Heat helps if the pain in your joints is not caused by an inflammation. For example, take a hot shower or use a heat seal. Also ensure a good night’s sleep. If you are tired during the day, you can bear less pain. People who eat healthier and more varied are also less likely to suffer from their joints. Try to figure out for yourself: what foods make me feel better or worse? For nutrition tips, read the article about nutrition against osteoarthritis symptoms.

Look for natural alternative treatments in joint pain

There is a chance that paracetamol will have no sufficient effect any more after a period of time and that you have to stop using NSAIDs due to the many side effects. It is then recommended to take a serious look at natural alternatives to fight the pain. In the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, the liquid joint treatment with Green-lipped mussel and Bio-Curcumin is becomes increasingly effective. This is a natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory compound that gradually provides results in 70% of users in 80 days. In addition, this compound is available without prescription at the better independent drugstore, reform shop and pharmacy, and you can take it safely next to your regular painkillers. Several scientific studies have found that Green-lipped mussel and Curcumin have almost similar effects compared to NSAIDs, but gradually and without any annoying side effects. This liquid joint is distinguished from other Green-lipped mussel supplements in that the whole shellfish is made 100% liquid through a unique process and has retained all natural ingredients. Because it is liquid, the analgesic and anti-inflammatory components are absorbed faster and better. It is therefore advisable to speak of a revolutionary breakthrough in the treatment of chronic joint disorder. This liquid joint treatment cure with Green-lipped mussel and Bio-Curcumin (BCM-95®) not only fights pain and inflammation, but also reduces swelling and stiffness. More information about Green-lipped mussel.

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