10 Ways to Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain



Stretch it out

Assuming you are pain-free, Reininger says you should try to stretch all of your joints each day to the extent that it does not cause you pain.

A physical therapist or other physician can help tailor a stretching program for your needs.

People with RA tend to feel stiffer in the morning than at other times of the day, so take a shower to warm up your joints, and then stretch to help loosen you up for the rest of the day, Reininger advises.




Give it a rest

Getting enough rest is important.

Taking a break can relax your mind, ease pain in your joints, and help reduce the fatigue that is often associated with the disease.

So how much do you need? “Rest is personal—it depends on a person’s endurance,” Reininger says. However, avoid too much rest. A sedentary lifestyle can be harmful, so intersperse rest periods with activity



Take a warm bath or shower

Moist heat in particular seems to penetrate well and provides relief from rheumatoid arthritis pain, according to Reininger.

She recommends taking a warm bath or shower or soaking sore hands in warm water.

Additionally, moist heating pads, available at most pharmacies, can be applied for 10 to 15 minutes at a time to provide temporary pain relief.



Try hot wax

If you have pain in the joints of the hands or feet, a hot wax bath can ease inflammation. (This is a classic technique used for sports-related injuries.)

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Reininger says this can work better than a heating pad because, as with soaking in a warm water bath, the heat works its way completely around the fingers or toes.

These hot wax baths, which Reininger says that some patients prefer, can be found online or at drug stores.




Try a cane

A lot of people think a cane signifies disability, but if it helps reduce joint pain, who cares?

Canes are easy to find and use and can take up to 20% of your body weight off of your legs, hips, and ankles.



Lose weight

Being overweight can place excessive stress on, and adversely affect, your weight-bearing joints like the knees, back, and hips, Reininger says.

Studies have shown that fat tissue may produce chemicals that can increase inflammation, something rheumatoid arthritis patients need to avoid.



Use special tools

Certain types of equipment can help make everyday tasks less painful. Pens, knives, can openers, zipper pulls, and additional products are available to help you protect your joints, Reininger says.

The good news about finding such equipment is that you don’t always have to look in specialty stores for them.

Many tools are designed simply to make them easier to use—kitchen tools with large handles, ergonomic can openers, and large drawer pulls.



Plan carefully

It is difficult to tell when a flare-up may occur, making your joints become stiff and swollen, or when you will overdo it when exercising.

Because you can’t foresee these events, it’s a good idea to be prepared and plan for problems before they arise. Reininger says to make sure any activity you start is one that you can end partway through.

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Break chores up into sections—plant one garden bed one day and the second another day instead of tackling them all at once. And when exercising, it’s not necessary to do 30 minutes at once; try three 10-minute increments throughout the day.


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