Understanding Your Pain
The physical discomfort that we may experience as a result of arthritis or other degenerative changes to our body may affect us physically or emotionally. Physically. We may experience joint pain as a result of a wearing out of the cartilage that cushions our joints. Other physical symptoms associates with joint pain include redness, swelling, burning, and weakness. Also, we must consider the emotional toll that pain has on us. When our joints become painful due to inflammation, we often start to stop doing the things we used to enjoy, such as sports, hanging of friends after work, and doing home repairs on the house. Often, many people shut down many of their non-essential activities with the hope that by resting their aching muscles and joints, this will finally stimulate the healing process.
While this may sound like sound reasoning, research has shown that limiting exercise actually has the effect of causing higher pain levels and increasing stiffness and immobility of joints. Pain may have emotional effects on us in several ways. First of all, losing control of our bodies can be a very frightening experience. Patients who experience pain on a regular basis often begin to think about their own mortality, and wonder how much worse their pain condition is going to get over the course of the next few days, months, and years. People in pain and those suffering from arthritis look at others in canes and wheelchairs, and wonder how much longer it is going to be before I am like that. Clearly, pain can affect us on many levels. Understanding your pain is important, so that you can learn what causes it, how to treat it as best as possible, and how to cope with your emotional experiences associated with your condition.
Pain is something many of us deal with on a daily basis. Some people just accept it as a fact of life, and make the necessary adjustments. Some patients become obsessed with finding a treatment that will finally cure their problem. Some patients become find themselves unable to cope with the pain and reduced mobility, and begin withdrawing from their friends and find themselves unable to work. No two people are alike in their pain tolerance and how they cope with pain. While we won't tell you are wrong to experience anxiety and depression as a result of your joint related physical limitations, we can mention some of the benefits of understanding your pain, learning ways of coping with it, and finding treatments and exercises that are appropriate to your specific condition. The more you understand about your pain, the closer you will come towards understanding specific activities and foods that will reduce the severity of your symptoms.
We have also learned the importance of learning of coping with pain on an emotional level. Research has shown time and time again that people with a history of anxiety and depression are more likely to have musculoskeletal disorders such as lower back pain and fibromyalgia. If you were to interview two people with the exact same injury, the person who was better equipped to cope this type of adversity, through techniques such as relaxation therapies, would be much more likely to report milder symptoms of pain.
We have also learned that there are different types of pain, including somatic and neuropathic pain.