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10 At-Home Arthritis Remedies

By Rebecca Manno
Rebecca Manno portrait
Arthritis suffers from an identity crisis. First, it’s not just one disease but a collection of several conditions related to joint pain. And it doesn’t only affect older people. According to the CDC, more than 54 million people in the U.S.—or one in four—are living with it. Two-thirds of those are under 65, including an estimated 300,000 children.  

Osteoarthritis is the most common form. OA, an irreversible disease, can affect any joint but occurs mostly in knees, hips, lower back and neck, and small joints of the fingers. “Osteoarthritis is usually described as wear-and-tear arthritis,” says Rebecca Manno of the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center. “Prior injuries and repetitive movement contribute to OA, along with age.” 

The primary therapy for OA continues to be pain control to maximize function. “You can treat symptoms to help maintain function and minimize the pain.” Here, Manno offers some effective at-home remedies.

1 / Heat or Cold

A hot pad or compress relaxes muscles and lubricates joints. An ice pack can reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain.

2 / Topical, Menthol-Based Patches

Use over-the-counter therapies with menthol, lidocaine, and aspirin. Your doctor may prescribe a compounded gel or cream.

3 / OTC Pain Killers

Acetaminophen or anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can relieve mild to moderate pain. Consult a doctor before taking.

4 / Footwear

Choose well-fitting shoes with arch support.

5 / Braces/Support

During activity, use a compression sleeve for elbows or knees to help minimize overextension.

6 / Exercise

Exercise strengthens the muscles around the joints, taking strain off the joint itself. Low-impact (walking, swimming, yoga, etc.), but not necessarily low-intensity, exercise is preferred.

7 / Supplements

Things like fish oil and turmeric can reduce systemic inflammation.

8 / Massage

Massage relaxes muscles around joints and decreases discomfort.

9 / Epsom Salt Baths/Paraffin Treatments

Soaking in warm water or with a hot parafin treatment stimulates circulation. The magnesium in Epsom salt may reduce inflammation.

10 / Restorative Sleep

Give your body time to heal by getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep.

Arthritis remedies

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