The hallmarks of arthritis are joint stiffness and pain. For many people, the pain is worse when waking up in the morning and/or in the evening after a long day at work. We know people look for more than just medication to treat what ails them, so we thought we’d share five home remedies or treatments for arthritis as well as one fast-acting pain relief medicine you can use at home or on the go.
Here are 6 things you can do to help treat your arthritis:
1. Apply heat and cold therapy
Ever notice how a warm shower loosens up your joints and muscles in the morning? If you have arthritis, your answer is probably “yes.” Did you know you can use both heat and ice (at different times) to treat your arthritis? Heat—such as from a shower, bath, electric blanket or heating pad—helps relieve stiffness and gets blood flowing to the muscles so you feel able to move again. Ice reduces joint pain and swelling. If your arthritic knee hurts after you’ve been standing or walking all day, apply an ice pack (a pack of frozen veggies also works) to the painful or swollen area for no more than 20 minutes. Rest a bit, then move around again to keep from getting stiff.
2. Do yoga and/or tai chi
Gentle yoga and tai chi are both low-impact exercises you can easily learn and do from home. Yoga focuses on breathing and proper alignment of your body in different stretches and poses, some standing, sitting or bending over, on a mat. There are many types of yoga, from gentle to very strenuous. You will want to choose a more gentle form, especially at first. Yoga can help reduce joint pain and stiffness, and it can also help reduce stress, making you feel more relaxed.
In tai chi, you stay upright and move around using slow, gentle movements with your arms and legs that help you improve your balance, muscle strength, breathing and flexibility. According to the Arthritis Foundation, tai chi has been shown to reduce joint pain and improve range of motion and function, as well as feelings of well-being. With both yoga and tai chi, it would be best to try a nearby class to learn the correct poses and movements.
If you don’t have a pool you can use at home, you may have to go to the gym or local swim club for this one. Swimming—or even just doing aerobic exercises in a pool—can be of great benefit for people with arthritis. Not only is water soothing, but it helps support your body weight, taking pressure off your sore joints. If you don’t have access to a pool, walk around your neighborhood or flat, local trails at a comfortable pace. The key is to exercise in a way that has a low impact on your bones and joints.
4. Lose weight
The more you weigh, the more pressure there is on your already painful bones and joints. Losing just one pound takes away four pounds of pressure on your joints. Losing five pounds, therefore, takes 20 pounds of pressure off your joints! Taking this pressure off means you’ll be able to move better, you’ll have less pain, and it will help prevent or reduce damage to your joints. That’s great incentive, right? So if you need help losing weight, go for it. Learn how to balance the foods you eat every day and stay active, as active as you can.
5. Eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, which in turn can help ease arthritis pain. The best sources of omega-3 are wild-caught fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, trout, sea bass and herring, as well as oysters. Certain nuts and seeds are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Try walnuts, flaxseed, hemp seeds and chia seeds. Eat them plain, over a salad or in a fruit or vegetable smoothie.
6. Keep BC®Arthritis powder stick packs handy
When you need quick pain relief at home or on the go, BC® Arthritis can help. It contains a higher dose of aspirin than in our original formula plus the same amount of caffeine to help stop minor arthritis pain fast. Powder pain relief absorbs quickly and our convenient, on-the-go, sealed stick packs let you slip one or two in your pocket or purse to take with you wherever you go.
As always, especially if you take other medications, talk to your doctor to make sure it’s okay to take BCÒ Arthritis occasionally too.