Tai Chi for Arthritis Relief
Gentle movements of the ancient Chinese exercise tai chi are one of many alternatives to help elderly people find pain relief.
More Alternatives for Arthritis Pain continued...
Cold Treatment: Cold, wet compresses or ice packs applied
to the affected area work better than heat for soothing sharp, intense pain of
an arthritis flare-up. Use cold treatment for 10 to 20 minutes but not longer
or there could be damage to the skin.
Biofeedback: Biofeedback is being taught today by
physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and many types of therapists. You
learn several types of relaxation techniques and by attaching sensitive
monitors to your body you can see immediately how your body is reacting to your
efforts to relax, lower your blood pressure, diminish your pulse rate, change
your temperature, or relax your muscles. Biofeedback reinforces your efforts to
control your involuntary reflexes. The monitors let you know if your attempts
to "tell your body" what to do are working. Eventually people are able
to control these bodily processes without the use of the machine. In Raynaud's
phenomenon, for example, you may be able to increase blood flow to your hands
or feet. By reducing stress and relaxing tight muscles you may reduce the level
of pain and the need for medications.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): This
involves the use of electrical stimulation of the nerves to block the pain
signals to the brain. It is performed by a professional and is usually done
after other methods have been tried and failed. It seems to work best when the
pain is in a specific area, such as the lower back. Electrodes are placed on
the skin with some gel in the area to be treated. The electrical current is low
level and produces a slight, tingling sensation. As with most treatments for
pain relief, it does not always work, but it is frequently helpful.
Visualization: Visualization has been shown to eliminate or
reduce pain. Hypnotherapists use it to help patients come up with images that
help pain become more tolerable or detract attention away from it. Close your
eyes, breathe deeply, and imagine that you are in a place that is particularly
restful. Bringing up this image at times of stress can be soothing and
Meditation: Like visualization, this method can bring about
relaxation and reduction of stress. It can slow the heart rate and breathing,
thereby reducing stress. Those who practice meditation regularly are
physiologically younger than their chronological age and report decreased
anxiety, depression, and tension, and increased concentration and
Deep Breathing: Deep breathing is an effective way to
relax. Try to find a time when you will not be disturbed. Find a comfortable,
quiet place with as few distractions as possible. Lie down, letting your body
be as limp as possible, and close your eyes. Begin breathing very deeply,
slowly, and rhythmically. Clear your mind of all your problems and
distractions. You can concentrate on a word, any word that will help you relax.
Pretend that you are inhaling all the positive energy around you, then exhale
all the negative. Try it for five or 10 minutes at first and work up to20 or 30