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Patient Handout - PDF

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					                     Patient Handout
                 Patient Handout
               NOTES                        Managing Arthritis Pain

Your doctor or therapist has given you
                                            A      lmost all of us know somebody with
                                                   osteoarthritis (OA)—a problem that
                                            affects 21 million Americans. The condition,
                                                                                                    the week. These 30 minutes can be accumulat-
                                                                                                    ed in three, 10-minute periods of activity over
                                                                                                    the course of the day for the same health ben-
this patient education handout to further   which is the most common type of arthritis,             efits as one continuous 30-minute session.
explain or remind you about an issue        strikes at bone cartilage so that joints rub               Along with exercising, you can manage
related to your health. This handout is a   painfully against each other.                           arthritis by building your life around wellness,
general guide only. If you have specific        If you have OA, you probably can’t perform          not pain or sickness. To that end, your mind
questions, discuss them with your doctor    simple, daily activities without pain. In fact, pain,   plays an important role in how you feel pain
or therapist.                               stiffness, fatigue and fear of doing more harm          and respond to illness. If you think of pain as
                                            can make you afraid of any physical activity.           a signal to take positive action rather than an
                                                But inactivity may increase your symptoms           ordeal you have to endure, you can learn to
                                            because you become weaker and less flexible.            manage it. Some suggestions include:
                                            Therefore, you should participate in safe,                 • Relaxation. When people are in pain and
                                            appropriate exercise programs to maintain               experience stress, muscles tighten, breathing
                                            strength, endurance and flexibility.                    becomes fast and shallow, and the heart rate
                                                The following three types of exercise can           and blood pressure go up. Relaxation can help
                                            reduce arthritis-related disability and pain.           you reverse these effects and give you a sense of
                                                • Flexibility or stretching. Gentle, low-inten-     control and well being, making it easier for you
                                            sity exercises performed daily to maintain or           to manage pain. Relaxation involves learning
                                            improve range of motion are the foundations             ways to be calm and in control. Methods that
                                            of most therapeutic exercise programs.                  can help you do so include yoga, meditation, Tai
                                            Adequate flexibility improves function and              Chi, and relaxation video and audio tapes.
                                            reduces the chances for injury.                            • Massage. Massage warms and relaxes
                                                • Muscle conditioning (strength and en-             painful areas. You can massage your own
                                            durance). These activities are more vigorous            muscles or ask your doctor to recommend a
                                            than flexibility exercises and are usually per-         massage therapist.
                                            formed every other day. They’re designed to                When doing self-massage, stop if you feel
                                            make muscles work harder than usual. This               any pain. If you have a professional massage,
                                            extra workload may be achieved from lifting             make sure the massage therapist has experi-
                                            the weight of your arm, leg or trunk against            ence working with people who have arthritis.
                                            gravity, or using weights, elastic bands or                Other ways to manage arthritis include
                                            weight machines for more resistance. Muscles            thinking positive thoughts, having a sense of
                                            adapt to the new demands by getting stronger            humor, eating a balanced diet and enjoying
                                            and become capable of working longer.                   activities with friends and family.
                                                • Cardiorespiratory conditioning. These activ-         While a comprehensive exercise program
                                            ities use large body muscles in rhythmic and            for people with arthritis includes these com-
                                            repetitive movements. They can improve heart,           ponents, the content and progression of a
                                            lung and muscle function, as well as improve            program depends on individual needs and
                                            weight control, mood and general health. These          capabilities. If you have a long-standing,
                                            aerobic exercises include swimming, aerobic             severe disease or multiple-joint involvement,
                                            dance or aquatics, biking, or exercising on equip-      be sure to talk to your health care team.
                                            ment, such as treadmills or rowing machines.               The most successful exercise programs
                                            Daily activities—mowing the lawn, raking                begin with the knowledge and support of
                                            leaves, sweeping driveways, playing golf or             people who are experienced with arthritis
                                            walking the dog—are aerobic exercises.                  and exercise. In addition, enlist their support
                                                The most effective and safest intensity for         to learn about pain management tech-
                                            aerobic exercise is moderate exertion. This             niques.
                                            means the exerciser can speak normally,                    Information adapted from the American
                                            doesn’t get out of breath or over-heated and            College of Rheumatology via
                                            can carry on activities at a comfortable pace.          www.rheumatology.org/patients/factsheet/exercise.html
                                                Thirty minutes is the current recommenda-           and the Arthritis Foundation via
                                            tion for regular aerobic activity on most days of       www.arthritis.org/answers/tips_managepain.asp

				
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