Many people with arthritis tend to be living with chronic pain. This can be one of the hardest parts of having arthritis. The arthritis
pain may be constant, and it may come and go. Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for arthritis. Which means for some, their arthritis
pain can last a lifetime.
From sore finger joints to sore ankle joints, here are some tips to help relieve arthritis pain.
#1. Take your Arthritis Medication
It is important to continue to take medications recommended to you by your specialist, GP, or healthcare team. Over the counter or
prescription medications play an important role in relieving joint pain and inflammation. Always speak with your GP and/or specialist
before stopping or changing your medications.
Some people may need to try different medications before they find the right one for them. If you have any side effects, speak with your
doctor and/or specialist.
Research shows that regular appropriate exercise can help reduce arthritis pain. Activities such as, walking, water aerobics, tai
chi or strength training can
help relieve joint pain, and improve flexibility, balance, and strength. Doing exercises that increases your heart rate, like swimming or
biking, can improve your heart health too. Exercise not only keeps you active, but it also keeps your joints moving.
Exercise for some people can be the best form of pain relief for arthritis. It can give you more energy, reduce stress and help you sleep
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by exercising regularly, consuming healthy foods and quitting smoking may help relieve joint pain.
Excess weight can increase the pressure on weight-bearing joints (like knees) and increase pain. Adipose tissue (our fat tissue)
can also send out chemical signals that increase inflammation. Maintaining a healthy weight can be beneficial for relieving arthritis
pain and reducing some of the symptoms associated with arthritis.
Eating a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and lean meats can be beneficial for maintaining a healthy weight. This may
help relieve joint pain when done alongside regular exercise.
A large amount of research shows that smoking can contribute to the development of certain types of arthritis. Quitting smoking can reduce
the damage and pain associated with arthritis, and improve the chances of your medication working. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about
quitting or call Quitline on 13 7848
Allied health professionals, such as Physiotherapist, Exercise Physiologist, Podiatrist, Occupational Therapist, and Hand Specialist,
may be helpful in providing techniques for arthritis pain management.
For example, a Hand Specialist may provide some techniques to reduce pain in sore finger joints.
A Podiatrist may help relieve arthritis pain in your feet.
An Occupational Therapist can help people with arthritis participate in activities safely and enhance their quality of life.
A Physiotherapist and Exercise Physiologist can prescribe exercises and stretches to protect joints and manage arthritis pain.
Living with arthritis can impact people differently. Some people with chronic arthritis pain find that their diagnosis effects their social
life or friendships. For some, connecting with people who understand, or finding ways to keep busy by doing things they enjoy can boost
their ability to cope with pain.
Some people find by doing their hobbies or spending time with family and friends can be beneficial for arthritis pain
Online or local interest or support groups can be a great way to connect with like-minded people. You can connect with others living with
arthritis in our online support groups.
Looking for more support? Speak to someone who understands what you are going through. Our Arthritis
Assist telephone servicecan
match you up with a fully trained peer-mentor who lives with arthritis like you.
#7. Consider therapies that may provide short-term pain relief
There are some treatments or therapies that are not part of conventional or medical treatment for a disease, but which may help
in finding relief from pain. While there may be little scientific proof of their benefits for arthritis pain, some people
may find them beneficial as part of their pain management plan. Some examples that are used by some people for arthritis are:
Hot or cold therapy - While the benefits have not been proven by research yet, these treatments can be soothing
and safe when used carefully. Some people find hot and cold therapy effective for osteoarthritis pain relief and relieving joint
pain. Heat relaxes your muscles and stimulates blood circulation. You could try a warm bath, a heat pack or hot water
bottle on the painful area for 15 minutes. Cold numbs painful areas and reduces swelling. Applying cold packs or ice
packs on the painful area for 15 minutes may be useful for hot, swollen joints. For more information, check out our free
article onHot and Cold Therapies here
Massage - some people find massage helps relieve arthritis pain. When booking your appointment, make sure the masseuse has
experience working with people with arthritis. You can find a qualified therapist by contacting Massage
& Myotherapy Australia here
Acupuncture - ancient Chinese practice of putting small, thin needles into the skin at specific points
on the body to block the pain signal. Some people may find acupuncture useful alongside other proven treatments, such as medicines. Be
sure to mention your arthritis condition to the therapist. The Australian
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association
can help you find an accredited practitioner.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) - A TENS machine applies very mild electric pulses to block pain
messages going from the painful area to your brain. TENS can be useful for longer-term pain but does not work for all people. See a
physiotherapist to trial a TENS machine, and to learn how to use it correctly before you buy one.
It is important to note with these therapies that there are limited studies proving their benefits for arthritis pain and mobility of
joints and muscles. They may work for some people, and they may not work for others. Always speak with your doctor or specialist
before starting any new treatments or therapies to be sure it is safe and suitable for you.
Arthritis pain may limit some of the things you can do, but it doesn’t have to control your life. With the support of your
healthcare team and family or friends, you can learn ways to manage your own arthritis pain. What works for one person may not work for
another. You may have to try various techniques until you find what works best for you.
Always talk to your doctor and/or health professional before starting an exercise program. A physiotherapist or exercise physiologist
can suggest safe exercises and make sure you are doing your exercises correctly.
Arthritis Australia. Dealing with Pain information sheet. Dec 2017
Arthritis Foundation. 4 Tips for Managing Chronic Pain. N.d.
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. 5 Ways to Manage Arthritis. Aug 16, 2021.