Arthritis: Five methods to help ease pain, stiffness and reduce inflammation quickly

Dr Hilary discusses arthritis drugs tocilizumab and sarilumab

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Arthritis is a common complaint characterised by painful joint symptoms, such as stiffness and swelling. If left untreated, rheumatoid arthritis – an inflammatory type of arthritis – can inflame the blood vessels, a complication that can prove life-threatening. When pain strikes it can most certainly have a negative effect on one’s life. Fortunately, there are a few proven methods to help ease arthritis pain quickly.

Cold or hot therapy

Heat and cold treatments can help relieve arthritis pain and inflammation.

Heat therapy treatments can include a hot bath or shower, electric blanket or heating pads to reduce painful symptoms overnight.

Cold therapy treatments can help primarily with joint pain, swelling and inflammation.

A gel ice pack or even a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel can be applied to the affected joint for instant relief.

Add turmeric to your diet

Turmeric is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.

In one study, scientists gave turmeric to rats to ascertain its effect on inflammation and pain.

The results indicated that it helped to significantly reduce inflammation in their joints.

Other studies have found participants’ pain levels improved when walking and when climbing stairs, as did their knee function, from taking turmeric supplements.

Topical gels

These gels work by stimulating sensory nerve endings in the skin, and the body responds by reducing pain signals through the nervous system, according to Dr Doreen Stiskal, chair of the physical therapy department at Seton Hall University.

He added: “Gel and capsaicin cream are two options to relieve arthritis pain.”

Capsaicin cream is a popular topical pain reliever that can be bought over-the-counter.

Physical therapy

Physical therapists can provide various ways to reduce strain and pressure on painful and swollen joints, said the Arthritis Foundation.

The health charity added: “These include manual therapy and counselling on proper positioning and body movement.

“They can also recommend assistive devices such as braces and splints to support joints and shoe inserts to relieve stress on the lower extremities.”

Get a massage

A gentle massage from a professional is known to help manage joint pain and discomfort.

Massages are also unlikely to pose any added risks and may provide indirect benefits including helping to reduce stress.

It’s essential you use a massage therapist who has experience in treating people who suffer with arthritis.
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