By Marie Serrado
Arthritis is a medical condition characterized by inflammation and pain in one or more joints in the body. Arthritis can occur at any point in our lives. However, it is most prominent after the age of 50. Women are more likely than men to get osteoarthritis. (NHS.com p.1). Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that usually affects older people. It occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joints wears down over time, causing pain and stiffness (CDC.com p.1). Moreover, we sometimes reach for a bottle of Tylenol, and the pain will reduce for some hours, but later, that pain will return.
Arthritis can be treated without pain medicine. Depending on your doctor’s advice, here are some ways to fight arthritis pain without medicine.
- Gels, creams, and patches that target arthritis can help alleviate the pain. Popular OTC creams for pain relief include capsaicin, menthol, or camphor. (“Fight Arthritis Pain Without Pills,” p.1)
- Using the right shoes
- Wearing flexible shoes can help relieve osteoarthritis pain in the knee and hips. Look for shoes that have ample toe box, adjustable fastening, and breathable material. You should avoid high-heeled shoes as they put pressure on the balls of the feet. Avoid closed-toe high heels as this can create bunions, corns, or pain.
- Maintain a healthy weight:
- Extra weight puts added stress on your joints, which can exacerbate arthritis pain. Maintaining a healthy weight can help alleviate this stress.
- Eat a healthy diet: A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains can help reduce inflammation and improve overall health.
- Exercise/Physical Therapy
- Staying active and regular exercise can help reduce joint pain and stiffness. Low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, or yoga can be especially helpful.
- A patient new to exercise/physical therapy may begin a program of exercises, such as stretching, strengthening, and aerobics, for 12 weeks.
- Manage stress:
- Stress can worsen arthritis pain, so it’s important to manage stress levels. Activities such as meditation, deep breathing, or gentle yoga can be helpful. Getting enough rest is crucial to help manage arthritis pain. Make sure you are getting enough rest and breaks throughout the day.
- Hot and Cold Compressions can help relieve arthritis pain. Hot Compression can help relieve osteoarthritis pain, and cold compressions can help with inflammation. Applying heat or cold to your joints can help relieve pain and inflammation. Experiment with what works best for you, whether it’s a heating pad, ice pack, or warm bath.
Arthritis can be a tedious and challenging condition to have. Always check with your medical provider to ensure the correct procedures. However, with the right tools, there are ways to help relieve pain without medicine. Remember to always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new self-management strategies or exercise routine. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific needs and medical history.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, July 27). Osteoarthritis (OA). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved April 25, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/osteoarthritis.htm#:~:text=Osteoarthritis%20(OA)%20is%20the%20most,underlying%20bone%20begins%20to%20change.
- Fight arthritis pain without pills: Arthritis foundation. Fight Arthritis Pain Without Pills | Arthritis Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved April 6, 2023, from https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/managing-pain/pain-relief-solutions/fight-arthritis-pain-without-pills
- MediLexicon International. (n.d.). What are the best shoes for rheumatoid arthritis? Medical News Today. Retrieved April 25, 2023, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/shoes-for-rheumatoid-arthritis#which-shoes-to-avoid
- NHS. (n.d.). Overview, Living with arthritis. NHS choices. Retrieved April 6, 2023, from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/arthritis/#:~:text=It%20most%20often%20develops%20in,as%20gout%20or%20rheumatoid%20arthritis.