Living With Arthritis: 5 Pain Management Tips

Dr. John S. Michels is an award-winning physician with a busy practice in Dallas, Texas. He provides outstanding pain management services for residents in and around Dallas, Fort Worth, Highland Park, University Park, and Preston Hollow.

His patients value his significant medical expertise and minimally invasive treatment approach. They also greatly appreciate his high level of compassion for those dealing with the challenges of chronic pain caused by issues such as arthritis.

Dr. Michels’ commitment to his patients is partly driven by his own history of overcoming a painful injury that ended his NFL career, which included a Super Bowl championship, and helped direct his focus as a physician.

Here, we put together five of his commonsense tips for managing arthritis pain.

1. See the doctor to identify your arthritis type

There are many different types of arthritis. Each causes varying degrees of joint pain, but effective treatments can vary greatly and often depend on which type is responsible for your discomfort.

Osteoarthritis (OA), for instance, is the most common form of arthritis and is related to degenerative changes in joint cartilage. OA is typically due to overuse or the natural wear-and-tear of aging. 

Rheumatoid arthritis, another common type, is an autoimmune disorder that’s caused by a faulty immune system.

Dr. Michels can accurately identify the type of arthritis you’re experiencing and ensure that your customized treatment strategy effectively relieves your pain and addresses your underlying joint issues.

2. Move

Achy joints can make it hard to get moving first thing in the morning or after long periods of inactivity. But one of the best things you can do for stiff and painful joints is to stretch them gently through a full range of motion every morning and as necessary during the day.

Dr. Michels provides specific guidelines for stretching your joints, but try a simple morning warmup for your ankles by hanging your feet over the side of the bed and writing the alphabet with your toes.

3. Modify your exercise routine

Stay active but change your workout routine as necessary to protect your joints from the pounding they receive during high-impact activities such as running, tennis, and basketball. Try switching to swimming, cycling, or brisk walking to protect your ankles, knees, hips, and back.

Balance your cardiovascular workout with strength training to build muscles in your thighs, core, and shoulders. Doing so helps protect your joints from injury. And include flexibility exercises to ensure tendons and ligaments remain limber.

If you aren’t currently exercising regularly, check in with Dr. Michels before starting a routine to ensure that your workout is joint-friendly and balanced.

4. Eat healthy

Diets that include lots of processed foods, saturated fat, red meat, sugar, and salt may aggravate inflammation, which is often a contributing factor in arthritic joint pain. 

On the other hand, a diet that’s rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins like chicken and fish boosts your immune system and reduces inflammation.

5. Manage your weight

Excess weight increases complications of arthritis and contributes to arthritis pain by placing additional stress and strain on your joints, especially those in your back, hips, knees, and ankles.

For comprehensive treatment that addresses your symptoms as well as the underlying cause of your arthritic joint pain, schedule a visit with Dr. Michels today.

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