What is the Best Arthritis Pain Relief?

Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier

Arthritis, also generally known as osteoarthritis, is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by the diminished synthesis of specialized proteins called proteoglycans. This is significant since these proteins form the core of cartilage, the material that acts as a shock absorber in the joints by releasing water to form a protective barrier. However, in the absence of this activity, fluids build up in the cartilage, leading to inflammation and the gradual formation of osteophytes in the joints. These calcium deposits interfere with movement and produce pain, even when the joint isn’t being used. While there is no cure for arthritis, there are several methods of obtaining arthritis pain relief.

A healthy hip and one with osteoarthritis.
A healthy hip and one with osteoarthritis.

From a nutritional standpoint, there are several supplements that may help to reduce inflammation and promote pain relief. For instance, methionine, an amino acid and byproduct of adenosine triphosphate and methionine, is a precursor to cysteine, which is another component of protein. Also known as SAM-e, methionine inhibits the activity of cartilage destroying enzymes, while stimulating an increased production of proteoglycans. In short, this means that this nutrient may help to prevent damage to cartilage from occurring or progressing.

Shiatsu massage can help relieve arthritic pain.
Shiatsu massage can help relieve arthritic pain.

Fish oil provides omega-3 essential fatty acids, namely eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These agents have been extensively studied for their ability to provide considerable relief by reducing the production and release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. In fact, many patients report increased mobility as well.

There is medication available to address arthritis pain.
There is medication available to address arthritis pain.

Other complementary therapies documented to help achieve arthritis pain relief include massage, acupuncture, and Shiatsu, also known as acupressure. These therapies appear to improve symptoms by decreasing the production of stress hormones, such as cortisol. In addition, they help to stimulate an increase of pain-relieving neurotransmitters, such as endorphins.

The conventional approach to relieving the pain involves the use of medications, which can be categorized into three types. The most commonly recommended are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as aspirin. However, NSAIDS are also available in prescription strength. Other medications include disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), which are most frequently prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, a more serious form of this disease. Finally, corticosteroid drugs may be given to bring immediate relief by very quickly reducing inflammation.

Nutritional supplements can be used to treat arthritis pain.
Nutritional supplements can be used to treat arthritis pain.

A professional health care practitioner should evaluate the best course of therapy to pursue based on the frequency and severity of symptoms. In addition, some patients respond best to a combination of therapies. It is also important to discuss the risks and side effects of specific medications since DMARDs, for instance, involve suppressing the immune system.

Fish oil supplements can help ease arthritis pain.
Fish oil supplements can help ease arthritis pain.
Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier

Contributing articles to wiseGEEK is just one of Karyn’s many professional endeavors. She is also a magazine writer and columnist, mainly for health-related publications, as well as the author of four books. Karyn lives in New York’s Catskill Mountain region and specializes in topics about green living and botanical medicine.

Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier

Contributing articles to wiseGEEK is just one of Karyn’s many professional endeavors. She is also a magazine writer and columnist, mainly for health-related publications, as well as the author of four books. Karyn lives in New York’s Catskill Mountain region and specializes in topics about green living and botanical medicine.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments

anon990164

Take some neem oil, add kapur, turmeric powder and ginger powder to it. Keep for one day. Apply on the affected place thrice a day and the pain will be gone.

cook1928

@seag47: An alternate to fish oil capsules is emu oil capsules. These contain the beneficial essential fatty acids of Omega 3, 6 and 9 but without a fishy aftertaste.

seag47

My dad started taking fish oil supplements to prevent arthritis pain. It actually seems to be working. He can move around a lot more without feeling stiff and achy, and he seems happier in general.

Fish oil is supposed to be really good for you, and since I don't eat a lot of fish, I decided to try one of his supplements. For the rest of the day after swallowing that pill, any time I burped, I would taste the most horrid flavor in my mouth! If you have ever smelled actual fish oil, you know it is one of the worst smells in the world.

So, if I develop arthritis, I will seek another method of treatment. Fish oil may be great for some people, but I can't tolerate the aftertaste.

cloudel

I think that the best way to get relief from arthritis pain in your hands and fingers is to wear compression gloves. They apply just enough pressure to reduce stiffness and lessen the swelling in your joints.

I know that whenever I am experiencing arthritis pain and I apply just a little pressure to my hand with my other hand, I instantly feel better. These gloves do this for me, and I can wear them all the time.

They are also supposed to promote circulation. This makes my hands warmer, and since my arthritis gets worse in cold weather, warmth is good.

OeKc05

@Oceana – I've always heard that tart cherry juice is a good arthritis treatment. My parents both drink it, and it seems to be helping them with their pain.

You could also eat actual cherries, but when they are not in season, you can always use the juice. I don't have arthritis yet, but if I ever do, I will try this, because I happen to love the taste of cherries.

My mother said that something in the cherries keeps the brain from receiving pain signals. They act like a natural analgesic. They also are full of vitamins and potassium, so you can't go wrong with them.

Oceana

Years ago, I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, and my doctor told me that I could never take arthritis medication or any of the NSAIDS. They could cause serious problems for my kidneys.

Unfortunately, I have recently begun to have problems with arthritis. My fingers hurt so much after doing just a little bit of gardening, yet there is nothing I can take for relief. My fingers burn with the pain, and it is so frustrating!

Does anyone know of an alternative arthritis pain relief that would be safe for me to use? I'm willing to give anything a try.

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • A healthy hip and one with osteoarthritis.
      A healthy hip and one with osteoarthritis.
    • Shiatsu massage can help relieve arthritic pain.
      Shiatsu massage can help relieve arthritic pain.
    • There is medication available to address arthritis pain.
      There is medication available to address arthritis pain.
    • Nutritional supplements can be used to treat arthritis pain.
      Nutritional supplements can be used to treat arthritis pain.
    • Fish oil supplements can help ease arthritis pain.
      Fish oil supplements can help ease arthritis pain.
    • There is no cure for arthritis.
      There is no cure for arthritis.
    • Green tea's anti-inflammatory properties may provide relief for arthritis pain.
      Green tea's anti-inflammatory properties may provide relief for arthritis pain.
    • When NSAIDs prove ineffective, doctors might recommend corticosteroid shots to the affected joint.
      When NSAIDs prove ineffective, doctors might recommend corticosteroid shots to the affected joint.
    • Acupressure massage may help bring relief from arthritis pain.
      Acupressure massage may help bring relief from arthritis pain.
    • Arthritis causes pain and inflammation in the joints.
      Arthritis causes pain and inflammation in the joints.
    • Some arthritis patients have found acupuncture to be effective.
      Some arthritis patients have found acupuncture to be effective.