Coping with arthritis can be tough. The pain can prevent you from doing the things you like to do, which might make you feel frustrated, depressed or anxious.
However, there are many different ways to manage your arthritis pain so it doesn't take over your life.
Your doctor might recommend oral pain medications, but these can cause side effects such as liver damage, skin disorders, lowered white blood cell levels, and other problems, especially if taken long term.
We advocate for natural pain relief methods, which don't have any negative side effects. Here are our top 5 methods, recommended by arthritis experts.
1. Be active. It can be tempting to move less when you're in pain and feeling fatigued from the extra stress on your body. But physical activity is the best way to reduce pain, improve your mood, and strengthen your joints. Exercise also reduces your risk of getting other chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
One caveat: be as active as your health allows. If you're not used to exercising, start slowly and see how your joints react. It's best to do activities that are joint friendly. Try low-impact activities like swimming, cycling or walking. You might also benefit from physiotherapy if you're not able to be very active.
2. Manage your weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for everyone, but especially those with arthritis. Extra weight puts extra stress on your joints - particularly your hips and knees. Even losing 10 pounds is enough to see pain reduction.
3. Natural anti-inflammatory topicals. Topical NSAIDs like Voltaren have a lower risk of side effects than oral medications, but can cause skin irritation and even burns.
We like P3 Cream for joint pain - it's all natural, totally safe and filled with pain relieving ingredients like calendula, peppermint and eucalyptus. This cream is best for joints that are near the surface of the skin.
4. Supports. Arthritis pain is caused by healthy joint cartilage breaking down, which means arthritic joints can become weak and unstable. Supports add extra reinforcement to weak joints, helping you move better and with less pain. They also stimulate blood flow by keeping the area warm, which can help reduce pain as well.
Compression sleeves provide a low level of support, while a knee brace with a hinge in it provides a higher level of extra stability. You can also get gloves and wrist braces for arthritis to help your hands move better.
5. Hot and Cold Therapy. Heat treatments are good for stiffness. They can include long, warm showers or baths, and putting an electric blanket or heat pad on the joint. Icing the affected area is great for reducing swelling and inflammation. Some patients find their joints feel better after alternating between hot and cold.
These tried-and-true methods will help you feel better and get back to doing the things you enjoy.