How to Get Rid of Arthritis Pain

Three Methods:Easing Pain with Medication and SupplementsLessening Pain by Changing Your LifestyleHelping Pain with Diet

Arthritis pain plagues many individuals all over the world. There are two types of arthritis: rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is most common and is caused by joint usage, or wear and tear, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease.[1] Although arthritis is not curable, you can do certain things to help maintain and lessen the pain that is involved with all forms of arthritis. It may take some trial and error, but if you try a few simple methods, you can learn to get rid of the pain associated with arthritis.[2]

Method 1
Easing Pain with Medication and Supplements

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    Take analgesics. You can take over the counter analgesics, such as acetaminophen or tramadol, to help relieve your pain. These medications help with pain, but they do not help with inflammation. Popular over the counter brands include Tylenol and Ultram.
    • If the pain is severe, you may want to contact a pain clinic and ask about prescription analgesics, such as narcotics with oxycodone or hydrocodone. Popular prescriptions include Percocet, Oxycontin, and Vicodin.[3]
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    Try nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). To help with the pain of arthritis, you can take over the counter NSAIDs. These drugs, such as Ibuprofen and naproxen, can be used to relieve occasional pain that comes with arthritis or overworking muscles that leads to joint and muscle pain. They also help reduce inflammation, which is a major component of arthritis pain.[4]
    • Talk to your doctor if you find yourself using these medications too regularly. You don't want to over treat yourself, which can cause more problems, including damage to your kidneys and liver.
    • Try a common brand of of ibuprofen such as Advil or Motrin and of naproxen such as Aleve.[5]
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    Use topical analgesics. There are some over the counter topical creams that you can buy that might help with arthritis pain. These creams contain menthol or capsaicin, which, when applied to the skin over a painful joint, can help relieve pain. They may also interfere with the transmission of pain signals from the painful joint.
    • In studies, capsaicin has been shown to reduce pain by 50% after three weeks of use.[6]
    • You can also get some NSAIDs that can be applied as a cream.[7]
    • You can take these with or without oral medications.[8]
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    Ask your doctor about corticosteroids. You can take prescription corticosteroids to help reduce severe arthritis pain and swelling. Your doctor can give these to you in the form of a shot or a pill. Injections can provide you with quick relief, but they can only be used a few times a year. This is because they break down bone and cartilage.
    • Any form of corticosteroids you are prescribed will be monitored by your doctor because there are some potentially negative side effects, such as the loss of vitamin D that leads to bone deterioration.[9]
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    Take SAM-e. SAM-e, also known as S-adenosylmethionine, is a supplement that has anti-inflammatory properties and can stimulate cartilage. It also affects neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which helps to reduce pain perception.
    • Multiple studies have shown that SAM-e relieves arthritis symptoms just as effectively as NSAIDs, but has fewer side effects.[10]
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    Use avocado-soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU). ASU is a supplement that blocks chemicals in the body that cause inflammation. It also prevents the deterioration of the cells that line joints and may help regenerate joint connective tissue.[11] This supplement is a combination of 1/3 avocado oil and 2/3 soybean oil.
    • This supplement is available as a soft gel. You should take one 300mg pill daily.[12]
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    Take fish oil. Also known as Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, fish oil is a supplement that has been extensively studied. The Omega-3s help block inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins and also are converted by the body into anti-inflammatory chemicals.
    • It also helps decrease joint tenderness and stiffness. In studies, it has also been shown to reduce or eliminate the use of NSAIDs.[13]
    • You can also take omega 6 fatty acids, known as gamma linolenic acid (GLA), to help reduce joint inflammation.[14]

Method 2
Lessening Pain by Changing Your Lifestyle

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    Understand the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Though they may have similar characteristics, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have different causes.[15] If you have rheumatoid arthritis, then your joints are being attacked by your own immune system, which is the source of the pain. With osteoarthritis, the pain is caused by use of the joints. The type of arthritis you have may influence which treatments are most appropriate for you.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis can begin at any age, while osteoarthritis usually occurs later in life, since it is associated with joint usage. The symptoms will often present rapidly instead of appearing gradually over the years.[16]
    • A major sign that you have rheumatoid arthritis and not osteoarthritis is the presence of other symptoms, such as fatigue and a persistent feeling of being sick.[17]
    • Pain resulting from rheumatoid arthritis affects joints big and small and usually occurs on both sides of the body. Morning pain will last longer than an hour.[18] If you have osteoarthritis, you may experience morning pain, but you are more likely to feel it after using the affected joints.[19]
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    Manage your weight. Being overweight can cause or increase complications associated with arthritis. It can also contribute to arthritis pain. You should try to slowly make changes in your life to lose weight, such as exercising more and eating better.[20] You need to build muscles around your joints, but you don't want to damage the joints themselves.
    • You should focus on stretching and range of motion exercises that will gradually increase your strength. Avoid running, jumping, tennis, and high-impact aerobics.[21]
    • Try to exercise later in the day. This will help you feel less stiff when you wake up in the morning.
    • These should be permanent lifestyle changes, so you can continue to maintain your weight over time. This will help you increase your overall health and reduce your arthritis pain for a long time.[22] Losing weight will help with the degenerative changes seen with aging and wear and tear.
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    Keep moving. In addition to exercise, you should stay mobile throughout the day. The more stationary you are, the more pain you will experience once you get going again. When you are at work, try to get up and move at least once an hour. You should adjust your position frequently, move your neck from side to side, change the position of your hands, and bend and stretch your legs whenever you can.
    • If you have really bad leg pain from arthritis, you should try to get up and walk around every 30 minutes.[23]
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    Work with a physical therapist. If you find yourself losing range of motion in your joints, your doctor may have you work with a physical therapist. The physical therapist can show you exercises to help keep your muscles and joints strong and loose, so you don't become too stiff.
    • She may also be able to design you a personal fitness program, with strengthening and cardiovascular exercises that will help with joint pain as well as with your health and weight maintenance.[24]
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    Do yoga. Yoga is a combination of deep breathing, meditation, and body poses. It will help decrease joint pain and stiffness as well as reduce any stress you have. Make sure you listen to your body and only do those poses that will help you move and that don't hurt your joints.
    • You should start slow and then increase your movements as you get comfortable with the movements.[25]
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    Assist your movements. If you are suffering from extreme pain, you may be able to use devices that help you move easier or in ways that don't hurt your joints as much. Try using a cane or walker whenever your joints are hurting too much. This will help you ease some of the pain on the joints that hurt and allow them to stop swelling and have less pain.
    • You can also try to use a raised toilet seat or specialized bathtub to help with your pain or with any trouble you have moving around.[26]
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    Put less pressure on your joints. To avoid overworking your joints and bringing on more pain, you should learn to put less pressure on your joints. Incorporate new items or activities into your daily life in order to preserve and protect your joints. Try using pens with a larger base, which will make them easier to hold and write. You can also buy objects with larger and longer handles, so you don't have to strain as much to carry them.
    • You should also pick up things with stronger joints instead of smaller ones. For example, when holding heavy bags, you should hold them with your elbow joint instead of your wrists or fingers.
    • You can also buy plastic dishes to make them easier to carry, use, and wash.[27]
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    Use heat. When you are suffering from arthritis pain, one of the best ways to alleviate it is to use heat. It relaxes the muscles and helps to temporarily relieve the pain. Try applying heat pads or patches, taking a hot bath or shower, or using paraffin wax on the painful areas.
    • Be careful not to burn yourself. You should never use a heating pad for more than 20 minutes at a time.[28]
    • You can also use cold for your muscles. It will temporarily numb the pain associated with arthritis.[29]
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    Make an Epsom salt soak. Epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate, which is a natural mineral that has been used for years for pain relief. The high levels of magnesium help reduce the pain in your joints when you soak it in water.
    • To make the soak, fill a large bowl with warm water and add a 1/2 cup of Epsom salt. Place the joint that is in pain in the bowl and let it soak for at least 15 minutes.
    • If the joint is not easily soaked in a bowl, such as a knee joint, try adding Epsom salt to a warm bath and soaking in it for a while.[30]
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    Get more sun. Instead of relying just on food to get Vitamin D, you can also use the sun to get vitamin D. Try going out of the house into the sun without sunscreen for 10-15 every other day. This can help you absorb a lot of vitamin D in a natural way without running the risk of causing skin problems due to UV rays from the sun.
    • You can just leave your hands free from sunscreen if you are worried about your skin. Even just that small portion of your skin can help you absorb more vitamin D.[31]
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    Quit smoking. Smoking is bad for your overall health, but it can also cause arthritis pain. Smoking puts chemicals in your body that causes stress on connective tissues, which will lead to more arthritis pain.
    • Try using patches, chewing gum, or going cold turkey to quit smoking.[32]

Method 3
Helping Pain with Diet

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    Eat bananas. Bananas are great for arthritis because they help fight the underlying causes. Bananas contain high levels of potassium, which is necessary for the proper functioning of your cells. It also contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, and folate, which help to improve your immune system.
    • Try eating them as a snack or with your meals.[33]
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    Add turmeric to your food. Turmeric is a spice that can be added to food to help with arthritis pain. It contains curcumin, which is a chemical that reduces joint pain and swelling through the blockage of inflammatory cytokines and enzymes.
    • There are many recipes that you can add turmeric to, including everything from main entrees to desserts.[34]
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    Incorporate more ginger. In recent studies, ginger has been shown to have similar anti-inflammatory capabilities to ibuprofen and, as an extract, has been shown to work almost as well as steroids. Put ginger in more recipes, from chicken recipes to desserts.
    • You can also use ginger to make a tea, and drink it to help with pain.[35]
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    Eat foods with vitamin D. People who suffer from arthritis need to take care of their bones, which means they need more vitamin D. Those who take corticosteroids need it even more, because this type of medication actually lowers the amount of vitamin D in your system. Try to eat fish, especially salmon, mackerel, or herring. Three ounces of these fish have your recommended daily amount of vitamin D.
    • You can also eat the fish raw, because it has even more vitamin D then cooked fish.
    • Also try to incorporate more vitamin D-rich dairy, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, into your diet everyday.[36]
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    Drink green tea. There is an antioxidant in green tea known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) that blocks the production of molecules that cause joint damage. This will help lower the pain in your joints because your joints will be less damaged.
    • Researches suggest that you drink 2-3 cups a day to get the full benefit of the antioxidant.[37]
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    Eat foods with probiotics. Probiotics, also known as "good" bacteria, can help with pain. In recent studies, foods such as yogurt that have these bacteria in it significantly reduced the pain associated with arthritis. It can also help increase mobility as well.
    • Try eating at least one serving of yogurt with probiotics per day to help.[38]
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    Consume foods with sulfur. You body uses sulfur in detoxification, but it can be depleted when you use NSAIDs and other pain fighting medications. To replenish your body's supply, you should eat foods with rich is sulfur that have a certain kind of bite, such as onions and garlic.
    • You can also eat other sulfur-rich vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage.[39]
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    Increase your intake of foods with magnesium. Magnesium relaxes your muscles and nerve endings and eases pain. It also helps your bones to mineralize. Try to eat more magnesium-rich foods, such as dark leafy greens, nuts, and beans.
    • You can also take a supplement, but the natural type from food is processed better by your body.[40]
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    Have more sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are great for those with arthritis. They are rich is beta carotene, vitamin A and C, minerals, anthocyanin, and soluble fiber. All of these ingredients help with pain, inflammation, and joint health.
    • You can eat them steamed, boiled, or baked to incorporate them more into your daily food intake.[41]

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Categories: Back and Joint Care