May’s topic is arthritis and pain relief.
Arthritis is painful inflammation of one or more joints. There are many different types of arthritis, the most common being osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by normal wear and tear on the joints, which results in the breakdown of cartilage. The breakdown in cartilage results in bone rubbing against bone, which leads to inflammation and pain.
There are several ways to manage arthritis. Self-treatment options for pain relief of arthritis include weight loss, exercise, hot or cold packs, and over-the-counter pain relieving medication. You should seek medical attention if the pain is unbearable, if it keeps you from doing normal activities, if the area is red and hot to the touch, or if you are running a fever.
Being at a healthy weight is the most effective way to maintain healthy joints, especially in weight-bearing joints in your legs and feet.
You can determine if you are at a healthy weight by using the Body Mass Index (BMI) calculation. BMI calculators are readily available online and the calculation is based on height and weight. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. If your BMI is above 24.9, then you are considered overweight. If you need to lose weight, do so slowly, at a rate of 1–2 pounds per week. Eat a balanced, healthy diet that focuses on cutting calories.
Low-impact exercise focusing on strength training and flexibility around the affected joints can reduce joint pain. Low-impact exercises include brisk walking, cycling, swimming, and water aerobics. Avoid higher impact exercises, such as running, as this can increase the pain and inflammation in joints.
Optimally, you should exercise 30 minutes per day at least 5 days per week. If you are new to exercising, start slowly and gradually increase to a goal of 150 minutes per week.
Hot and Cold Packs
Apply a hot or cold pack to help relieve pain. Wrap ice packs with a towel before placing on the affected joint. Avoid using heat if the joint pain is from a recent injury. Only use hot or cold packs for 20-minute periods.
You can find several medications without a prescription to help relieve arthritis pain. If you have any other medical conditions, always check with your doctor before starting any over-the-counter medication. If you are currently taking other medications, consult your Publix pharmacist or doctor to make sure there are no interactions.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a class of medications that reduce inflammation and relieve pain. NSAIDs available without a prescription include ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). You may respond to one of these medications better than the other. Do not use these medications together and do not exceed dosage as recommended on packaging of these products.
Note: If you have heart failure, kidney disease, cirrhosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, or a history of ulcers or GI bleeds, speak with your physician before taking a NSAID. NSAIDs should be taken with food to reduce side effects. Avoid alcohol while taking NSAIDs.
Acetaminophen (Excedrin) is a pain reliever, but it doesn’t reduce inflammation. There are many medications available that contain acetaminophen, be careful not to mix these products. Exceeding the dosage recommended on the package may lead to liver damage. Avoid alcohol while taking acetaminophen.
Aspirin can also be used to relieve pain associated with arthritis, but it may increase the risk of bleeding. Do not exceed dosage as recommended on the package. Do not use in combination with NSAIDs.
Topical medications are also available that may relieve joint pain. Common ingredients in these topical products include menthol, salicylates, and capsaicin. Menthol produces a feeling of hot or cold around the joint and may block your ability to sense pain. Capsaicin produces a burning sensation and may interfere with your nerves' ability to send pain messages. Salicylates contain the same ingredient found in aspirin and may help reduce pain. Topical preparations are absorbed through the skin and should be applied directly to the affected joints. Wash your hands thoroughly after application and avoid touching your eyes.
In some cases, arthritis may require prescription medication. Please talk to your Publix pharmacist or your doctor if you have questions about managing your arthritis.
These Products Can Be a Part of Your Healthy Lifestyle
Stock up on arthritis pain soothers.
Aleve® has less frequent dosing than other branded, over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers if pain persists. Use as directed for minor arthritis pain.
- For long-lasting relief of arthritis* pain, body pain, headache
- #1 orthopedic doctor-recommended† for minor arthritis* pain
- Available in liquid gels form as well
- Available with easy-open cap on select items
- Just two Aleve® provide relief that can last all day
* Minor arthritis pain
† WKH Survey of Orthopedic Surgeons
Excedrin® Extra Strength
Life’s unexpected curveballs can come with a few headaches, that’s why Excedrin® Extra Strength is formulated to end them fast. Headaches are where Excedrin excels. Use as directed.
To help relieve headaches, try resting in a dark room, massaging neck muscles to ease tension and tightness. Get enough sleep and exercise, reduce stress at home and work, eat a healthy diet, and relax.
Migraine sufferers should know that Excedrin® Migraine relieves pain, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound when used as directed; and is the #1 neurologist recommended OTC medicine for migraine relief. Potential migraine triggers include:
Identify and track triggers to help avoid or prevent migraines. Download the My Migraine Triggers™ app at www.MigraineResource.com
- Anxiety and stress
- Irregular sleep and/or eating patterns
- Bright light or loud noise
- Hormonal changes
- Weather changes
- Certain foods
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