No-Cost Self-Help Tips
Chronic pain can have many causes. An old injury or medical conditions like arthritis can cause stiff, achy joints. Chronic pain can also negatively impact your daily functioning, restful sleep and quality of life.
While over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications like ibuprofen, acetaminophen and aspirin can help ease joint pain, these products can negatively react with any prescription medications you are taking.
Long-term use of NSAIDS can also cause other health issues.
So here are 6 ways to help reduce your joint discomfort at home:
- Cold compress – Wrap an ice pack or frozen bag of corn or peas in a towel. Apply this to the painful joint.
- Heat therapy – Soak in a warm bath or try a warm shower. You can also apply a heating pad to the aching joint to bring some pain relief.
- Elevation – If the painful joint is in the lower extremities, raise the joint above your heart level to reduce any swelling.
- Exercise – Walking and gentle stretching help to strengthen muscles that support your joints.
- Relaxation Activities – Meditating, deep breathing exercises, and journaling are a few ways to practice relaxation. Don’t discount the power of these activities – give them a try.
- Distractive Activities – Self massage or listening to music can temporarily displace pain sensations with pleasant ones.
Here are additional ways to relieve joint pain. While not necessarily home treatments, have a conversation with your health care provider about the following options:
- Weight Management – Extra weight can put additional stress on your joints. Ask your health care provider for a plan to safely lose weight.
- Yoga and Tai Chi – These two forms of exercise can ease joint pain and stiffness, improve balance, and reduce stress.
- TENS Unit – A small, portable device that provides transcutaneous (passes through the skin without needle penetration) electrical nerve stimulation to ease pain. Be sure to check with your health care provider about your medical conditions prior to using this device.
- PT and OT – A physical therapist can create a tailored exercise plan for muscle strengthening and improved range of motion. An occupational therapist can create a treatment plan for protecting your painful joint by teaching you how to complete daily tasks in non-conventional ways.
- Therapeutic Massage Therapy – A massage therapist can manipulate muscle tissue to improve circulation and reduce pain and stress.
This information is not meant to replace medical advice. Always check with your health care provider before trying any new treatments.