Loosen up that stiff upper lip and let your feelings flow – it might make you feel better. A new study shows that even when people with osteoarthritis (OA) are in a lot of pain, they don't always tell their arthritis doctors.

Of the 70 percent of patients who had visited their doctors in the past three months, more than half (55 percent) said they had not discussed their pain or OA. What’s more, only 30 percent said they had received information on OA. The researchers say that although pain appears to be difficult to manage in people with severe OA in their hips and knees, more proactive management by health professionals (especially by general practitioners) would help patients.

If your current regimen is not providing relief, speak up and tell your arthritis or pain management doctor. Be as descriptive as possible in telling your doctor where it hurts and what it feels like. Then ask what your options are for managing the pain and work as a team to find relief.

Even if a new medication doesn’t do the trick, just talking to your doctor might help. Another new study shows that simply putting your feelings into words – or specifically describing your pain – stimulates a portion of the brain that subdues the stress reaction produced in response to pain. That is, putting pain into words and talking about how it makes you feel can decrease the amount of pain your brain and body registers.