How to manage your pain at home

18 August 2020
Collette stretching at home.
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Updated: 9 November 2020

We know many of you are adjusting to the changing lockdown restrictions and are managing your pain at home while waiting for services to restart.

We launched our Impossible to Ignore campaign in July to push for the changes and support that people with arthritis need, and have had great success at putting arthritis on the political agenda across the UK.

Please add your voice to our Impossible to Ignore petition and share the petition with friends and family on Facebook or Twitter.

People experience pain in different ways and have good and bad days. Here’s our roundup of advice and resources to help you:

Exercise

Exercise can help reduce joint stiffness, improve your mood and make you feel better in yourself. If you have questions about whether you should exercise or if it could impact your condition, read ask the expert - I have arthritis, should I exercise? Check out our simple exercises to help flexibility and ease pain.

For more inspiration on ways to get moving at home go to the We are Undefeatable website. They have five in five a configurable mini work out tool and lots more ideas ranging from chair exercises, yoga to dancing in your kitchen.

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. 

Let's move with Leon

Let’s Move with Leon is our free exercise programme featuring weekly 30-minute movement sessions delivered to your email inbox.  Sign up today, and we’ll be there to support you every step of the way. 

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.

"Move within your physical constraints, maintain muscle strength and range of movement. Try relaxation and mindfulness. Smiling and laughing are great mood boosters. This too will pass."

Jan

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.

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

Read more about the boom and bust cycle and fatigue. 

Speak with your rheumatology team

Some clinics and routine appointments are restarting in some of the UK. 

Depending on your local rheumatology team some appointments may be rearranged to be via telephone and some rheumatology 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 and pain relief

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.

Learn about other types of pain relief, such as paracetamol, using electronic pain relief (TENS), heat pads or ice packs.

Read more about arranging to see your GP and questions you may have about medication.

Talk about it

We know adjusting to change can be tough, both physically and emotionally. Open communication, feeling listened to 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, a socially distanced walk or face to face using Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp.

If you are feeling anxious

Here’s some useful resources to help support you, if you are feeling worried:

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.