Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition that causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. It can be debilitating, making it hard to do everyday activities. People with rheumatoid arthritis have to be very careful about the amount of pain they’re in and how much it affects their quality of life.
There are many different ways to go about reducing pain from rheumatoid arthritis. You should work with your doctor to find the best way for you to reduce your pain. However, if you’re looking for some ideas, here are 10 ways to reduce pain from rheumatoid arthritis:
One of the most common ways to reduce pain from rheumatoid arthritis is through medication. There are a variety of different medications that can be used to help reduce pain, inflammation, and stiffness. Some of the most common medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)– These are pain relievers that can help reduce inflammation. Examples of NSAIDs include ibuprofen and naproxen.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)– These drugs can help slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and reduce the amount of pain and inflammation. DMARDs can include methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine, and sulfasalazine.
- Biologic agents– These are newer drugs that work by targeting the immune system. They can help reduce pain, inflammation, and stiffness. Biologic agents include adalimumab, etanercept, and infliximab.
2. Physical therapy
Physical therapy can be a great way to reduce pain from rheumatoid arthritis. A physical therapist can help you with exercises that will stretch and strengthen the muscles around the joints. This can help reduce pain and stiffness.
Going to physical therapy can also help you learn how to properly use assistive devices, such as canes and walkers. Using these devices correctly can help you stay independent and reduce your pain.
3. Lifestyle changes
Making some lifestyle changes can also help reduce pain from rheumatoid arthritis. Some lifestyle changes that may help include:
- Exercise– Exercise can help improve joint function, flexibility, and range of motion. It can also help reduce pain, stiffness, and fatigue.
- Weight loss– If you’re overweight, losing weight can help reduce the amount of stress on your joints. This can lead to less pain.
- Relaxation– Learning how to relax and manage stress can help reduce pain and stiffness. relaxation techniques such as yoga, Tai chi, and massage can be helpful.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points. It’s thought to help relieve pain by releasing endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers.
5. Heat and cold therapy
Applying heat or cold to the painful joint can help reduce pain and stiffness. Heat can be applied with a heating pad, warm bath, or heat wrap. Cold can be applied with an ice pack, cold compress, or ice massage.
6. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
TENS is a therapy that uses electrical impulses to relieve pain. A TENS unit is a small, portable device that sends electrical impulses through wires to electrodes that are placed on the skin near the painful joint.
Ultrasound therapy uses sound waves to provide deep heat to the muscles and joints. It’s thought to help reduce pain and stiffness.
There are a variety of different supplements that have been shown to help reduce pain from rheumatoid arthritis. Some of the most common supplements include:
- Fish oil– Fish oil supplements are a source of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids can help reduce inflammation.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin– These supplements can help maintain healthy joints and reduce pain.
- Turmeric– This spice contains curcumin, which is an anti-inflammatory compound. Taking a turmeric supplement can help reduce pain and inflammation.
9. Herbal remedies
There are a number of different herbs that have been shown to help reduce pain from rheumatoid arthritis. Some of the most common herbs include:
- Ginger– Ginger is a spice that contains anti-inflammatory compounds. Taking a ginger supplement can help reduce pain and stiffness.
- Boswellia– This herb is also known as Indian frankincense. It contains compounds that can help reduce inflammation.
- White willow bark– White willow bark is a source of salicin, which is a compound similar to aspirin. Taking a white willow bark supplement can help reduce pain.
10. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychological counseling that can help you manage pain. CBT can teach you how to change the way you think about pain and how to cope with it in a more positive way.
Making some lifestyle changes and trying different natural remedies can help you reduce pain from rheumatoid arthritis. However, it’s important to work with your doctor to find the best way to manage your pain.