How to Relieve Arthritis Pain

Joint pain is one of the hallmarks of arthritis. The swelling, stiffness and inflammation that accompany this, sometimes debilitating, disease are the main causes of arthritis pain. Fortunately, there are now many ways to relieve arthritis pain.


    • 1

      Take some aspirin. Aspirin is the tried and true standby of arthritis pain relief. It has been used for this purpose for decades and remains one of the most effective ways to relieve the pain of arthritis. In fact, many arthritis patients start out with aspirin when they first get the disease.

    • 2

      Try an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is the primary culprit in arthritis pain. Readily available anti-inflammatories, such as Motrin and Aleve, may provide pain relief for mild to moderate arthritis.

    • 3

      Get a prescription. If over-the-counter medications don't work for you, you probably need something stronger. Your rheumatologist or family doctor can prescribe a variety of drugs, such as Bextra and Voltaren, that are aimed at relieving arthritis pain.

    • 4

      Rub in a topical ointment. You can get plenty of good pain-relieving creams over the counter. Look for ointments containing capsaicin (derived from cayenne pepper) for the best results.

    • 5

      Start exercising. Even though it may cause you more pain in the short term, exercise is remarkably effective at relieving arthritis pain over the long term. This is because exercise increases blood flow to the joints and strengthens the surrounding muscles.

    • 6

      Use ice packs on painful, tender joints. Ice can help to reduce inflammation (taking pain away with it) and can also temporarily numb the area. You can use ice packs as often as you see fit.

    • 7

      Soak in warm water. A hot tub or warm bath can relax your muscles and increase blood flow throughout your body, resulting in a lessening of pain.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are on prescription arthritis medicine, always check with your doctor before using any over-the-counter pain relievers. You must do this to make sure the over-the-counter drug is right for you and will not negatively interact with your prescription medication.
  • Exercise is a must for arthritis patients. If you do not move your joints, there is an increased risk that they will become frozen in place or otherwise deformed. Therefore, you must exercise--even on days when you don't feel like it.
  • If you decide to soak in a tub of water, make sure the water is not too hot. If your skin turns red on contact with the water, you should add some cold water to the tub before getting in.
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