Category Archives: Symptom Management

Arthritis Holiday Travel

Holiday Travel Can Be a Pain

The holidays are a great time to catch up with friends and spend quality time with family. From parties to special dinners to festive family traditions, this time of year is full of joy and excitement. But if the most important people in your life don’t live nearby, you’ll probably be traveling – and when you live with arthritis, that can often mean pain. Continue reading Holiday Travel Can Be a Pain

best advice for doctors

You Said It: Best Advice From Your Doctor

Pearls of wisdom, encouragement, perspective, no-nonsense tough love. Sometimes when living with a chronic disease like arthritis and searching for a treatment that works, you need some advice. It may come from a dear friend or even a stranger, but many times your arthritis doctor tells you what you need to hear. We asked our readers and followers, “What is the best advice your rheumatologist or arthritis doctor gave you?”

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BioFreeze-Fall-Header

Falling Leaves and Aching Joints: Combat the Pain Caused by Cooler Temps

Fall is a beautiful time of year – but along with changing leaves and cooler temps can come painful arthritis flares and inflamed joints. Changes in weather are often a source of discomfort for people with arthritis. Thankfully, there are ways you can lessen the impact cooler temps have on your joints, including making a pain plan that works for you.

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menopause arthritis connection

The Menopause-Arthritis Connection

Cheryl Koehn, 56, was surprised that information about how menopause might impact her rheumatoid arthritis (RA) – and vice versa – was so hard to find. “So many of us go through these profound life experiences in units of one,” says Koehn, who co-authored the book Rheumatoid Arthritis: Plan To Win (2002, Oxford University Press). In fact, living with inflammatory arthritis can affect how women experience menopause and their health risks.

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big toe pain arthritis causes

What’s Aching Your Big Toe?

It is easy to forget how important your big toe is – most of the time it stays out of sight and out of mind, hidden beneath our socks and shoes. But if you have ever had toe pain, you know it can keep you off your feet and up at night.

When arthritis affects the foot it usually hits at the base of the big toe in what is known as the MTP, or metatarsophalangeal joint. This can cause big problems for the tiny joint that has to bend and bear about 50% of your body weight every time you take a step.

Here are six common culprits of big toe joint pain—many of which are related—and ways you can find relief.

Continue reading What’s Aching Your Big Toe?

expressive writing to relieve arthritis stress

Relieve Arthritis Stress With Expressive Writing

While living with arthritis can create stresses most people might not even think about, a technique called expressive writing may bring relief, both mentally and physically. For example, maybe you’re angry because pain is keeping you from joining friends on a shopping trip or playing with your kids – again. You may be stuck in anger.

“But in addition to anger, you probably also feel grief, loss and a lack of control over the circumstances,” says clinical psychologist Mark Lumley, PhD, psychology professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. “Expressive writing can help bring forward those less-accessible feelings besides anger that don’t always have a voice.

Writing this way reduces inner conflict and provides you a better sense of emotional balance – and perhaps even less pain – when you express those feelings on paper.”

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aromatherapy essential oils

Essential Oils: What You Should Know

Aromatherapy won’t cure your arthritis, but it may ease certain symptoms and help you feel better. For example, lavender is sometimes used to relieve anxiety and promote sleep. Some research shows aromatherapy may even have benefits for pain. Two small studies found aromatherapy massage with lavender or ginger and orange oils led to short-term relief of knee pain.

“It doesn’t work for everyone, but some have good outcomes,” says Sue Cutshall, a Mayo Clinic integrative health clinical nurse specialist. However, as with other “natural” treatments, you should exercise caution when using them; in rare cases, they can be hazardous.

Essential oils are the foundation of aromatherapy. The oils – extracted from plants, flowers, herbs and trees – are most often used for their scent, but they can also be mixed with lotions or alcohol and used as bath or massage products.

Most essential oils have few side effects or risks when used as directed, but some can cause harm. Undiluted essential oils can provoke skin problems, and citrus essential oils can increase sun sensitivity.

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when to go to the emergency room

Know When to Go to the Emergency Room

You’re feeling sick but your doctor is booked and the nearest urgent care center is 45 minutes away. There’s always the hospital emergency room, but your symptoms aren’t that bad. Should you just tough it out?

Figuring out how and where to handle an illness isn’t easy. It’s even harder for people with inflammatory types of arthritis, because complications related to the disease and its treatment can be serious, says Uzma Haque, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. Here’s what she suggests:

Continue reading Know When to Go to the Emergency Room