6 Things You Can Do at Home to Relieve Arthritis Pain

Don't Forget Obvious Ways to Get Some Relief

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If you are experiencing early symptoms of arthritis, it is helpful to know what you can try at home to get relief from joint pain. Even if you are not new to arthritis and have been diagnosed by a doctor, you may experience flare ups when it will be necessary to attempt to get quick relief. Despite having a regular treatment regimen, flares happen, especially when you overdo activities. Here are 6 things you can try at home.

Remember not to overlook these simple solutions which can provide some relief -- at least to get you through the day or allow you to get some sleep at night -- while you wait to discuss a long-term pain relief strategy or treatment adjustment with your doctor.

1 - Heat or Cold Applications

It's easy, inexpensive, and readily available. Heating pads or frozen gel packs, as well as other ways for administering heat and cold, are often used to soothe painful joints. Which is preferred, ice or heat? For the most part, it is personal preference. Heat improves circulation and relaxes muscles. Ice or cold packs can numb pain, reduce joint swelling, reduce inflammation, and block nerve impulses to a painful joint.  

2 - Warm Soak (With or Without Epsom Salts)

A warm soak is among the most effective ways to soothe aches and pains. Arthritis Today, the Arthritis Foundation magazine, suggests that there are several reasons why soaking in warm water works so well.

Soaking reduces gravity that compresses a painful joint. It also decreases swelling and inflammation, and increases circulation. Soaking for 20 minutes is a reasonable amount of time, but make adjustments if necessary. While some people recommend adding Epsom salts to the warm water soak, Epsom salts should be for occasional use only.

3 - Topical Pain Relievers

There are various topical pain relievers available. Topical products (e.g., creams, patches) are applied to the skin. Many of the arthritis cream products can be purchased over-the-counter. And yes, there are many, ranging from A (Aspercreme) to Z (Zostrix). Topical creams, gels, and ointments soothe minor arthritis and muscle pain. Some of the products contain the active ingredient salicylate. Others utilize the pain-relieving effect of capsaicin or menthol.

4 - Joint Supports

Supports are used to stabilize a painful joint, protect the joint, and reduce pain. There are supports available for just about any joint - knee, ankle, elbow, wrist. They can be purchased in your local drugstore, medical supply store, or many sporting goods stores. Joint supports are made from different materials and there are several styles. Consider you options and consider buying one to have on hand.

5 - Rest

Rest is a necessity if you are experiencing joint pain. Be aware, however, that while rest can relieve pain, it is encouraged for short periods of time.

You should resume normal activity as soon as possible. 

6 - Over-the-Counter Pain Medications 

I put this last because people who are already taking prescription medications for their arthritis must be very cautious. Most people think over-the-counter medications are safe, and they are for the most part. But, you should talk to your doctor about over-the-counter medications. Discuss what you currently take for pain and what you are considering. Ask your doctor if you can take Advil (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen), or Tylenol (acetaminophen) when joint pain increases. Know if it is safe to combine an over-the-counter drug with prescription drugs that you take normally, or if it is forbidden. Know the answer before you need to know. If your doctor approves, buy an over-the-counter drug to have on hand for when you need it.

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