How to manage your pain at home

07 April 2020
Collette stretching at home.
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Coronavirus is having an unprecedented impact on health services, meaning that non-urgent operations over the coming months will be postponed. For further information, including assessing your risk and medication, read our dedicated coronavirus section.

You’ve shared your experiences on our Facebook page about how it feels as many appointments have been cancelled for now- from pain management, physio to joint replacement surgery.

We know many of you are feeling uncertain during this time and you're managing your pain at home. Everyone is unique and people experience pain in different ways.

Here’s our advice from our information and leading experts to help you:

Speak with your doctor or rheumatology team

The majority of face to face clinics and routine appointments have been postponed and you should be informed of any changes. Depending on your local rheumatology team, some appointments may be rearranged to be via telephone and some departments have advice lines.

Contact your doctor or rheumatology team to find out more about the support they're offering. Also, ask if there’s anything else that they can provide advice on from medication to exercise, to help you manage your pain and condition.

Drugs

The current advice is that you shouldn't stop taking your medication unless advised to do so by your GP, rheumatologist or rheumatology nurse.

If you're on immunosuppressants, and you stop your medication, you're more likely to have a flare, which could make you more likely to pick up an infection.

If you have concerns about your medication, speak to a member of your healthcare team.

If you're unable to go out, find out from your local pharmacy about home delivery options for prescriptions and medication.

Other pain relief

You may find other types of pain relief useful. For example, taking painkillers such as paracetamol, using electronic pain relief (TENS), heat pads or ice packs.

Exercise

Exercise can help reduce joint stiffness, improve your mood and make you feel better in yourself. For exercise tips check out Escape-pain online, this free resource provides exercises to help people living with chronic pain.

Making exercise a part of your daily routine is a useful way to give structure as we're all adjusting to change. Check out our simple exercises to help flexibility and ease pain.

The NHS have produced gym free workouts like these chair yoga exercises and this Pilates video specifically for people with arthritis.

To help you manage your pain, medical experts have come together to produce these self-management resources to give you robust advice and exercises to help support you at home. 

These are supported by NHS England and Improvement, The British Orthopaedic Association, The British Society of Rheumatology, The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Versus Arthritis and the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance.

The information covers key areas of pain from back, hip to hand pain. You simply click on the relevant body part to get to the full list of resources to help you.

For more inspiration on ways to get moving at home go to the We are Undefeatable website. They have ideas ranging from chair exercises, yoga to dancing in your kitchen.

Boosting wellbeing

If you can’t move much, getting outside, if you have a garden, can help. The feel-good factor of exercise helps emotional stress too.

You've got this, no matter what this is in your world, you've got this. Turn on your favourite tune, whether it be at home, in the car if you have to work, or whilst at work, take 3 1/2 minutes to sing along to your favourite song; then take a deep breath and know you've got this ❤️

Ali

“I’m a list person but lists aren’t always good, if you don’t achieve what’s on them. Give yourself a reminder to be realistic with yourself, allow for things going a bit pear-shaped, shelve whatever you can. Don’t feel you have to give up on it, it’s just that right now isn’t the time, so put it on a shelf and when the time is right lift it down.”

Yvonne

Talk about it

We know adjusting to change and new ways of life can be tough – especially at the moment. Open communication and being honest is key.

“As much as your body is screaming lie down, take control and keep moving. In these worrying times ensure you walk; it can lift your mood and hopefully improve your mental health. Talk to family and strangers from a distance or by phone and keep busy.” 

John

Read John's story and how writing has helped him live with osteoarthritis and manage his wellbeing.

Stay connected with family and friends whether that’s over the phone or face to face using Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp.

Also, you can call our free helpline on 0800 5200 520 or email: helpline@versusarthritis.org (Mon-Fri 9am – 8pm), talk to our arthritis virtual assistant, 24/7 and connect with others on our online community.

If you’re worried and anxious, here’s some useful resources to help support you:

Relaxation

Many people find that learning relaxation techniques can help in managing pain, reducing stress and improve sleep.

You can try different techniques from guided meditation to breathing techniques and see what works best for you. Laughing, dancing and singing can all help make you feel good.

For inspiration why not try out a mindfulness meditation app like Headspace or Calm.

Find out why yoga and tai chi are beneficial for our bodies and minds.

Your questions answered

Dr Danny Murphy answers your frequently asked questions relating to coronavirus and managing pain at home.

We’re here for you

If you’re feeling isolated from family and friends during these uncertain times, we’re here for you.