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Healing Choices for RA, Issue #020 --Describing pain and Four tips
February 01, 2017

Describing pain and 4 tips for Relief

Many RA patients have pain. Most physicians ask about pain—its level and its impact on your life.

While I think it’s more productive to think about improving your flexibility, strength, reach, and joy of movement, knowing the words that describe pain to doctors can reduce the stress of an office visit.

The International Pain Foundation has a concise page for describing your pain to a physician [1].

Here are some adjectives that can describe the type of pain that can occur in some RA patients [1]:

What does it feel like at rest and after touching?

• Beating, burning, cramping, crushing, drilling, exploding, flashing, freezing, gnawing, itchy, jack-hammering, piercing, pinching, pounding, prickly, pressing, pulling, pulsing, pushing, radiating, scalding, searing, sharp, shooting, splitting, stabbing, tearing, throbbing, tingling, tugging, wrenching

How bad or frequently do you feel it?

• Always, constant, dull, intense, numb, nagging, jumping / moving, quivering, spreading, tender, wavering.

How long does the pain last after bumping the affected joint?

Other questions that physicians may ask:

• Where is the pain?

• Does it move? How often? Where does it go?

• Does pain wake you up at night?

• Does pain wake you in the morning?

• Does pain interrupt your daily activities?

If you have no pain, great!

If not, here are a few suggestions to try.

Four tips that may help relieve pain in some RA patients

1. Reflexology is a specific type of foot massage. A recent randomized, placebo controlled trial compared the pain and fatigue of patients who received nothing, a reflexology massage on both feet for 40 minutes, or aromatherapy massage for 30 min.2 Reflexology reduced pain in the RA patients in the first week.

2. Aromatherapy massage provides the fragrance of various herbs during the massage. The pain level decreased in RA patients after their 2nd session of aromatherapy.2 If you are allergic to any herbs, let the massage therapist know.

3. Massage therapists are located all over. Consider a reflexology session or a massage therapy session. Since some massage therapists are better than others, ask your friends or healthcare providers for recommendations. Alternatively, check online reviews of massage therapists in your area and choose one based on the reviews.

4. Although there is no published literature on this tip, if pain begins, I drink a glass or two of a green smoothie (organic kale or spinach, banana, almond milk, raw honey; or beet leaves, celery, carrots, raw honey or a date) or a powdered drink based on fruits and vegetables with high antioxidant activity.

BTW, By the way, I’ve added a webpage called, "Can a building with mold induce joint problems, including rheumatoid arthritis?”. Please check it out.

Wishing you and your family a rapid healing journey,


Kathy Molnar-Kimber, Ph.D.

Private consultations are available.

Please note: the information on this website is a sharing of information and knowledge from the research and experience of Dr. Molnar-Kimber and her community. It is not intended to replace your one on one relationship with a qualified health care professional. It also is not intended to be medical advice. However, it is often observed that patients who take a major interest in their disease and learn as much as they can about their disease and potential treatments often improve faster than those who don’t. Dr. Molnar-Kimber encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your own research and discussions with your qualified health care professional.

Selected References


2. Gok Metin Z, Ozdemir L. The Effects of Aromatherapy Massage and Reflexology on Pain and Fatigue in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pain Manag Nurs. 2016;17(2):140-149.

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