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Online clinic on arthritis & pain management - Oct 2017

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Osteoarthritis

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Pain when it's too hot.

Postby Heathered on Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:15 pm

My osteoarthritis is in my knees, especially my left knee and also my left foot. I find it is very painful if I get too hot as well as if I become too cold. Is this common? I sometimes use a hot water bottle filled with cold water on my knee in the summer to ease this problem. The winter can bring both problems as my partner likes the heating on higher as he feels the cold and the house is sometimes too warm, while outside it's too cold! Lose lose situation! Are there any cooling products available?
Heathered
 
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Re: Pain when it's too hot.

Postby Institute of Osteopathy on Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:06 pm

It used to be thought that arthritis was just wear and tear in the joints and simply a product of the aging process. However, research is now demonstrating that arthritis is a little more complicated than that. Arthritis is now considered to be a ‘persistent’ or ‘chronic long-term condition’. In persistent pain conditions such as arthritis, the pain nerves can become a little more sensitive, which means that they may trigger off a little easier than normal. You could think of this as a sensitive car alarm that goes off in error when someone walks past and it is hypothesised that this is the reason that some people find their pain gets worse when the weather changes.

Persistent pain is very common and effects over 14 million people in the UK alone. It often does not respond to conventional medical interventions and needs a different kind of approach, but there are many things that you can do to manage your pain yourself with the support of your medical team, your family and loved-ones.

Keeping active, performing exercises and stretches can help, learning to pace your activities so that you don’t trigger a flare-up of your pain as well as setting goals and priorities are all very important and can help you to maintain a fulfilling lifestyle. Your GP might be able to refer you to a cognitive pain-management department near you that can teach you techniques that you can use to manage your symptoms yourself. There are also specific types of medication that can help with this sort of pain.

For people with knee pain specifically, there is an exercises programme called ‘ESCAPE-Pain’ (http://www.escape-pain.org/) that has 12 years’ worth of high quality research supporting it. This programme has been proven to reduce pain, improve your ability to perform daily activities and help with some of the psychological symptoms of arthritis such as low mood. It also includes self-management education sessions to enable you to understand your condition and take control. You can even download a free App from the App store to allow you to try it out at home. I highly recommend it.

I know all this can sound a little scary, but there is hope and once you have found the right approach for you, I’m sure things will improve.

Matthew Rogers
Head of Professional Development | Registered Osteopath
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