Questions and Answers about Arthritis Pain
How Can You Cope with Arthritis Pain? continued...
Another technique is to substitute distraction for pain. Focus
your attention on things that you enjoy. Imagine a peaceful setting and
wonderful physical sensations. Thinking about something that is enjoyable can
help you relax and become less stressed. Find something that will make you
laugh -- a cartoon, a funny movie, or even a new joke. Try to put some joy back
into your life. Even a small change in your mental image may break the pain
cycle and provide relief.
The Multipurpose Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases Center
at Stanford University, supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and
Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), has developed an Arthritis Self-Help
Course that teaches people with arthritis how to take a more active part in
their arthritis care. The Arthritis Self-Help Course is taught by the Arthritis
Foundation and consists of a 12- to 15-hour program that includes lectures on
osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, exercise, pain management, nutrition,
medication, doctor-patient relationships, and nontraditional treatment.
You may want to contact some of the organizations listed at the
end of this fact sheet for additional information on the Arthritis Self-Help
Course and on coping with pain, as well as for information on support groups in
Things You Can Do to Manage Arthritis Pain
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Get 8 to 10 hours of sleep at night.
- Keep a daily diary of pain and mood changes to share with your
- Choose a caring physician.
- Join a support group.
- Stay informed about new research on managing arthritis pain.
What Research Is Being Conducted on Arthritis Pain?
NIAMS, part of the National Institutes of Health, is sponsoring
research that will increase understanding of the specific ways to diagnose,
treat, and possibly prevent arthritis pain.
Recent NIAMS studies show that levels of several neuropeptides
(compounds produced by cells of the nervous system), such as substance P, are
increased in arthritic joints. Substance P is involved in the transmission of
pain signals via the nervous system. At the University of Missouri-Kansas City,
researchers are studying effects of substance P in the spines of animals with
chronic arthritis. Findings from this study may be used to develop specific
drugs for chronic pain such as that associated with arthritis.