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6 Drug-Free Ways to Manage Arthritis Symptoms

August 10, 2018
managing arthritis

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America, affecting more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children.1 Let’s take a look at the condition and some of the treatment options that are available to help manage arthritis symptoms.

Types of Arthritis

Arthritis, unlike many other health conditions, is not a single disease, but rather a way of broadly categorizing joint pain or joint disease. According to the Arthritis Foundation, there are over 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions, including degenerative, inflammatory, infectious, and metabolic arthritis.2 Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a degenerative disorder caused when the cartilage on the ends of bones wears away, which allows the bones to rub against each other, resulting in pain, swelling, and stiffness. While there is currently no cure for arthritis, there are drug-free options to help ease the pain and manage the symptoms. Under the supervision of your physician some options may include:

  • Exercise: Strength training, low-impact aerobics, yoga, tai chi, and even walking can ease arthritis pain, increase the range of motion, and strengthen muscles around the joint for added support.3 Maintaining a healthy weight can also reduce stress on joints.
  • Hot and Cold Therapies: Heat treatments, such as heating pads, hot packs, or warm baths, enhance circulation to help soothe stiff joints and tired muscles.4 Cold therapy restricts blood vessels, slows circulation, reduces swelling, and numbs nerve endings, helping to alleviate acute pain.
  • Acupuncture: This form of traditional Chinese medicine involves the insertion of thin, sharp needles at specific points on the body. Acupuncture has been effective for many as a treatment for osteoarthritis pain.5
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS): A TENS device administers a weak electric current through electrodes placed on the skin to stop messages from pain receptors from reaching the brain.
  • Assistive Devices: Products such as knee braces, sleeves, and other devices that combine electrotherapy and compression therapy are helpful for reducing pain and joint stiffness and improving joint function - without adverse side effects.
  • Canes and crutches: Canes may help to reduce pain and improve pain management. However, it is important that weight is not added to other affected joints, such as the hip

Visit our health condition page, to learn more about medical devices that can help manage the pain and symptoms associated with arthritis.

References:

  1. https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/arthritis-statistics-facts.php
  2. https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/
  3. https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/rheumatoid-arthritis/articles/best-exercises-for-ra.php
  4. https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/other-therapies/heat-cold-pain-relief.php
  5. https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/rheumatoid-arthritis/articles/best-exercises-for-ra.php

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