Managing arthritis pain

Arthritis affects people in different ways, one of the main symptoms of arthritis is pain. It may increase during a flare and then subside at other times, but for most people with chronic pain, it will never entirely disappear.

What causes pain?

The pain from arthritis can come from many different parts of your body; common physical sources of pain include bones, joints, tendons, nerves and muscles.

Pain can be influenced by many physical factors as well as your emotional state.

There are many things you can do physically and emotionally to help control your arthritis pain. Your treatment team can help develop a pain management plan or ‘toolkit’ to help ease your discomfort.

Physical factors that increase pain

  • Poor physical condition
  • Fatigue or poor sleep
  • Weather may affect some people with arthritis

Physical factors that increase pain

  • Inactivity or lack of exercise
  • Fatigue or poor sleep
  • Flare up and increased inflammation
  • Weather may affect some people with arthritis

Physical strategies to decrease pain

  • Exercise and moving regularly
  • Heat, cold or even alternating between both
  • Taking breaks between activities
  • Protecting your joints
  • Massage
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)  machine
  • Creams you can rub on your skin
  • Taking prescribed medication

Psychological factors that increase pain

  • Being negative or focusing on your pain
  • Expecting that your pain will increase
  • Feeling stressed or anxious
  • Feeling depressed
  • Feeling that you are not able to cope

Psychological strategies to decrease pain

  • Keeping positive and thinking that things will get better
  • Doing things to take your mind off of your pain
  • Deep breathing
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Meditation

Resources and helpful links

Talk to your doctor or health professional about different ways to manage your pain and check out these helpful resources below.