6 ways to manage arthritis pain without pills

leg pain

The phrase “alternative remedy” rings hollow with many people, but the ongoing opioid addiction epidemic has some people looking for other ways to manage their arthritis pain. While some such remedies are little more than old wives’ tales or the placebo effect (people feel better because they believe they will feel better), other such remedies are evidence-based and proven to be effective. Moreover, not all alternative remedies are slow-acting. In many cases, users see results within a matter of a few weeks, or maybe even almost instantly.

Keep in mind that these remedies should “manage” arthritis pain. They will not eliminate the discomfort, but they will most likely reduce it so it does not greatly interfere with everyday functions.

Arthritis Cream

Topical ointment offers excellent management for joint stiffness and pain in the hands and fingers, which is where most arthritis patients need the most help. Many of these creams have a combination of natural ingredients with just a touch of chemical accelerant, so the natural remedies work even faster and better. There are many different choices, so the best idea is to pick one, and if it does not deliver the desired results, pick another one.

Weight Loss

Many New Year’s resolutions include weight loss. Just a few pounds can significantly relieve the pressure on knees, ankles, and other mobility-related joints. Once again, there are many different weight loss ideas. Some people see progress through exercise, some benefit from a reduced caloric intake, some people change the types of foods they eat, and some people employ a combination of techniques. Give yourself about a month with a certain approach before you abandon it, because weight loss programs usually take a while to bear fruit.

Exercise

While high-stress exercise, like weightlifting and running, may make arthritis pain even worse, movement-related exercise, like yoga or Tai Chi, usually has the opposite effect. The movement helps make joints more flexible and so increases range of motion. These exercises also have a strength-building component, to help maintain these results. There are many different classes and poses available. Many of them cater to people with limited mobility, so exercise is usually a very good place to start.

Hot/Cold Therapy

Most all arthritis pain is worse in the morning when joints are cold and stiff. A hot pack, or even a long hot shower, often loosens these stiff joints. Also, consider using an electric blanket or a heating pad in the overnight hours. Later, during the day, ice is an excellent analgesic. The cold temporarily freezes some of the nerve endings so they do not send pain messages to the brain. If possible, try to ice a painful joint for about twenty minutes. If the area begins losing color, you are probably over-icing.

Turmeric

This spice is a natural anti-inflammatory because it contains high curcumin levels. Numerous animal studies indicate that turmeric is quite effective at reducing joint inflammation. Unless you really, really like this spice, consider using a curcumin nutritional supplement. Be sure and ask your doctor for advice first.

Meditation

Arthritis pain is obviously not psychosomatic (all in your head). However, thinking about the discomfort makes it worse. Therefore, meditation eases the mental element involved in arthritis pain. Meditation works even better when it’s combined with movement, such as Tai Chi or yoga. According to one study, the beneficial effects of meditation may last for several hours at a time.
 
These alternative remedies will probably not cause a night-and-day difference, but they should significantly improve your ability to function at work and home, and that makes everyone’s life a little bit better.

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