Living With Arthritis: 5 Ways to Find Relief at Home

by Dianna Malkowski, Physician Assistant & Nutritionist

If you or someone you care for is starting to feel pain, stiffness and inflammation of the body joints, it may be arthritis. Because some types of arthritis may damage the joints, it’s important to see a doctor for a diagnosis. Your doctor will discuss treatment options, which may include prescription medication. In addition, here are some other things to try.

Moist heat packs
1. Use moist heat to alleviate pain. By increasing circulation, moist heat brings new healing blood cells to tissues and temporarily relieves pain. Try taking warm showers in the morning, and use moist heat packs on affected areas as needed. When shopping for an arthritis pad or a moist heat pack, look for easy controls and automatic cooling safety features. 

Exercise can help you manage arthritis.
2. Keep moving with exercise. Moving your joints may help with stiffness. Try a daily walk and incorporate gentle stretching. Exercise will also help keep your weight down, helping knees and hips. Consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. 

3. Try therapy braces for support. Some offer a choice of applying hot or cold therapy to ankles, elbows, knees, wrists and back. Designed to reduce swelling, relieve pain and increase mobility, braces also provide support to heal and prevent injuries.

4. Look into products for managing arthritis at home. Open It! Rx makes a line of pill bottles and openers that are easy to use for those with stiff hands. Make using the commode safer and more comfortable with a raised seat and grab bar. And don’t forget to equip a favorite easy chair with a mobility handle; Stander makes one with a pivoting tray to use for snacks, crafts or laptop use.

5. Take your medication as directed. If you’ve been taking your medication when and how you’ve been instructed to, and you’re still in pain, call your doctor to inquire about other medications or to see if you’re a candidate for joint replacement.
Dianna Malkowski is a Board Certified Physician Assistant and Mayo Clinic trained nutritionist specializing in diabetes, cancer, wound healing, therapeutic diets and nutrition support. She serves on the board of professional advisors for The CareGiver Partnership and enjoys working with patients and caregivers alike. Ask Dianna a question, or for one-on-one help with products, call 1-800-985-1353 M-F 9-4 CST.
Source: NIAMS: Living With Arthritis


Emily said...

People with arthritis experience different kinds of pain. It can be mild or it can be severe. It is important to provide emotional support to people who have this kind of disease. As a caregiver, you need to encourage your patient to do light exercises to promote circulation and alleviate pain. 4rx

CareGiver Partnership said...

Dear Emily, thank you for your insights -- especially the comment about emotional support.

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