Living with the chronic pain of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is tough and often unpredictable. However, there are non-prescription therapies that can help you manage the pain and reduce flares.
Here are seven natural therapies to relieve RA pain:
- Yoga helps keep joints flexible and strengthens the muscles that support them. Focusing on breath work and proper form are essential. Find an instructor who can help you modify your poses or show you ways to use props when needed. Practicing yoga is an excellent way to reduce pain and anxiety and enhance sleep.
- Heat and cold therapy are used to relieve pain and inflammation. Heating pads and hot packs help loosen stiff joints and provide relaxation. Ice packs are great for soothing inflamed joints. Try the Hot & Cold Therapy Gel Pack that goes from freezer to microwave and comes in multiple sizes.
- Connecting with nature can reduce the stress that triggers flares. Taking a walk outdoors will keep your joints flexible and relieve stress. In as little as 10-20 minutes a day, you should notice positive results. Head outside, listen to the birds, watch the butterflies, and soak up the sun’s warmth on your skin.
- Acupressure, also known as Shiatsu, is a treatment that uses firm but gentle pressure to achieve results similar to acupuncture. It focuses on kneading, stretching, and pressure to balance the body and reduce pain. The Hand & Wrist Massager uses acupressure to soothe achy fingers and wrists.
- Chiropractors and physical therapists often use transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS) therapy to help patients manage various types of pain. It’s also effective in treating the pain caused by RA. TENS releases tiny electrical impulses through the skin that block pain receptors to the brain and increase “feel good” endorphins. You can get medical-grade TENS devices without a prescription for at-home use.
- An anti-inflammatory diet may reduce the pain and swelling caused by RA, according to a 2017 study. Choose whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins such as fish and chicken. Use extra-virgin olive oil for cooking and salad dressings. And be sure to limit unhealthy saturated fats, trans fats, sugar, and alcohol.
- Sleep. Unrelenting pain makes it challenging to fall asleep. Lack of sleep increases stress and pain and creates a vicious cycle. Developing a nightly routine can help promote the rest your body needs. Whether it’s a warm bath, a gentle massage, or a few minutes of light stretching, you’ll soon be sleeping and feeling better.
While there’s no cure for RA at this time, taking steps to care for yourself now may slow the disease and damage it causes to your joints.