Arthritis is a common condition affecting the lives of people around the world. One in every five people older than 18 and one in every 250 under 18 has arthritis. There are some great solutions available these days to help patients address their pain and stiffness. Traditional anti-inflammatory methods and dietary changes are usually recommended first. Many patients find great relief with transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) as well.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a disease that results in joint stiffness, pain, and swelling. The most common form is osteoarthritis. In this instance, soft tissue in the joint wears away. The result is inflammation and pain where the bones rub together. Most variations of this disease can impact any joint in the body. Many patients use a combination of methods to control their pain and stiffness.
How Do TENS Units Help?
TENS units are portable nerve stimulators. They come with electrodes, which are attached to the skin over painful areas. A low-level electrical pulse is sent through the skin and into the body. The pulses work to confuse pain signals that would otherwise head to the brain. The effect is an increase in blood flow and a reduction of pain. TENS units can be used on most parts of the body.
These noninvasive treatments provide relief from pain within minutes. After use, many patients notice that it takes hours before symptoms re-emerge. The result is that less pain medications are required to manage arthritis symptoms.
Many patients like to combine a few different alternative strategies to limit the amount of medication they need. Heat packs are useful for reducing pain, while cold packs bring down swelling. Either one can be used for 15 minutes at a time two to four times a day.
Acupuncture and acupressure are also successful forms of treatment for arthritis pain. Both work to increase endorphin levels in the body. These are the body’s natural pain relievers. Increased blood flow is another result of using either method. This helps to clear out lactic acid and other wastes that can contribute to pain.
There are some great options for people living with arthritis to control pain without relying solely on medications. If your arthritis is not fully controlled, ask your doctor about incorporating some of these methods into your treatment plan.