At-Home Care Tips to Ease Your Joint Pain

At-Home Care Tips to Ease Your Joint Pain

About a quarter of American adults suffer from joint pain and the stiffness and loss of mobility it can bring. Joint pain can be debilitating — but it can also be treated. The key is to find the right combination of medical treatments and “home remedies” that can help.

At Vulcan Pain Management in Birmingham, Alabama, Victor Mendoza, MD, and his team specialize in state-of-the-art medical pain management solutions — but they understand the value of home care. In this post, they review eight DIY methods you can try at home to help relieve your sore joints.

1. Help yourself to RICE

No, not the kind you eat. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation, and it's a widely prescribed “home remedy” for many types of pain. All four components help reduce inflammation, a driving factor for most types of joint pain. You can alternate ice therapy with heat to improve circulation to the joint tissues, too.

2. Take an over-the-counter NSAID

NSAID stands for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, and when relieving chronic pain, these medicines can provide a lot of relief. The key is to take them only as directed — don’t be tempted to increase the recommended dose if you don’t feel relief. Taking NSAIDs before activity can help prevent pain before it starts, and taking them before bed can make it easier to get comfortable so you can catch your Zs.

3. Try gentle exercise

When joints are sore, being active is probably the last thing on your mind. But if you don’t get some exercise, your joints can stiffen up, making painful symptoms worse. Gentle exercise, like swimming, yoga, or tai chi are all excellent choices. Ideally, you want to look for something low impact to get the benefits of improved circulation without the irritation and inflammation that can happen with more strenuous routines.

4. Learn to reduce stress

Stress makes it harder to cope with painful symptoms, but it can also make your pain feel worse. That’s because stress releases cortisol, a hormone that can increase pain and the inflammation that causes it. Meditation, mindfulness activities, and breathing techniques are simple enough for anyone to try. Breathing exercises can even be done at work, in your car, and while lying in bed.

5. Join a support group

Chronic pain can take a toll on your emotions, too. Data shows people with chronic pain are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Finding a support group — online or in person — is an excellent way to talk about your feelings and find ways to cope.

6. Quit smoking

It’s hard to find any medical problem where quitting smoking won’t be beneficial. That’s because smoking affects your health in so many negative ways. Smoking can increase inflammation in your joints (and elsewhere in your body), and it also impairs circulation, which could contribute to worsening joint problems.

7. Lose weight

Like quitting smoking, losing weight isn’t always easy. But dropping even a few pounds can dramatically decrease the strain on your knees, hips, and ankles, as well as the joints in your spine and your feet. Bonus points for adding anti-inflammatory foods to your new, healthy eating plan. The Arthritis Foundation website offers some suggestions for your grocery shopping list.

8. Know when to seek help

Home remedies can help with many types of joint pain, but if you have persistent pain, pain that’s getting worse, or pain that interferes with regular activities, it’s time to seek medical help. Dr. Mendoza and his team are skilled in an array of pain management options that can be adjusted and tailored to suit each patient’s unique needs.

If you’re having joint pain and want to learn about more ways to manage it, call 205-258-7246 or book an appointment online at Vulcan Pain Management today.

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