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Tips for Joint Pain Relief

According to a study by the Arthritis Foundation, more than 92 million adults have been diagnosed with or report symptoms of arthritis. Arthritis symptoms—joint swelling, stiffness, and pain—cause significant disability and discomfort. 

A group in a studio perform chair yoga exercises.

If you struggle with arthritis, working with a joint specialist can help. And, in addition to the medical care a specialist provides, you can also incorporate some of the following strategies into your treatment plan. These tips and treatments can also be extremely useful when it comes to finding joint pain relief.

Yoga

Arthritis-friendly yoga can help reduce pain and increase mobility in joints. Studies show that when patients with knee osteoarthritis practice yoga, they see a reduction in symptoms, have improved physical functioning, and feel better overall. In addition to reducing arthritis symptoms, yoga is a good practice for mental health and can help you feel more relaxed and better able to cope with joint pain.

Exercise

While arthritis makes it more difficult to be mobile, exercising more actually helps relieve joint pain and stiffness. Exercise strengthens the muscles around the joint, prevents further bone loss, and improves joint mobility. It also helps you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight to relieve pressure on joints.

A kneeling man applies an ointment to his knee.

There can be some risks, so get recommendations from your doctor or work with a physical therapist for knee, shoulder, or hip arthritis exercises. With professional guidance, being more active will help you feel better.

Over-the-Counter Medication

One of the first and most conservative treatments for joint pain is over-the-counter pain medication. These can be confusing, though. For instance, what is the difference between Tylenol and Tylenol arthritis? Is ibuprofen better? Your doctor or joint specialist can recommend the best pain reliever to try for your symptoms.

Vitamin Supplements

Many vitamins play an important role in bone and joint health, but exactly how is not always clear. For example, vitamin D deficiency is common in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

An older woman stretches her shoulders and arms in a park.

Vitamin D and the rheumatoid arthritis connection is an ongoing mystery that researchers continue to try to explain. For now, it seems like supplementing with vitamin D could be useful for RA patients. Ask your doctor for a test to see if you are deficient.

Vitamin K is also important for bone and joint health. However, research has found no connection between supplementing with the antioxidant vitamins—A, C, and E—and joint pain relief. Talk to your specialist about which vitamins might help your condition.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a treatment used in traditional Chinese medicine. It involves using thin needles to improve the flow of energy in the body. A lot of anecdotal evidence exists to indicate acupuncture reduces arthritis pain, but evidence from research is mixed. Because risks are low, the American College of Rheumatology and the Arthritis Foundation conditionally recommend acupuncture.

Topical Treatments

Arthritis creams and oils are topical pain medications. The active ingredient depends on the product but may include diclofenac, capsaicin, salicylic acid, menthol, lidocaine, and ibuprofen. You can use these as alternatives to oral medications, and they provide more targeted pain relief. Talk to your doctor about which product to try, and if you could benefit from a prescription cream.

Diet and Nutrition

Changing your diet can help you manage arthritis pain, partly because a healthy diet plays a big role in weight maintenance. Specific foods and nutrients are also important in reducing inflammation and pain:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and can be found in fatty fish, walnuts, olive oil, flax seeds, and chia seeds.
  • Dairy, eggs, and foods fortified in vitamin D support healthy bones and reduce further bone loss.
  • A variety of fruits and vegetables provide many nutrients to support joint health. Orange produce contains carotenoids, compounds that might reduce inflammation.
  • Garlic and members of the onion family contain a compound that may reduce enzymes that damage cartilage in joints.

The worst foods for arthritis are those that trigger or worsen inflammation. Avoid or limit red meat and other sources of saturated fats, added sugars, fried foods, refined grains, alcohol, and highly-processed foods.

Many lifestyle changes and home remedies can help relieve arthritis pain, but seeing a specialist is still the most effective way to manage symptoms. For a consultation with an SI Ortho joint specialist, request an appointment online

Posted in: Arthritis, Pain Management