How to Ease Arthritic Pain


Article by J. MillerS.Armfield

arthritis pain relief

What to do the First Few Days


  • Rest from painful exercise or a movement is essential. We call this active rest. "No pain. No gain." does not apply to arthritic joints especially if they are swollen and hot.
  • The rule of thumb is - don't do anything that increases your pain, swelling or joint heat.
  • After your joint settles it is important to return to activity and exercise. You need to get it moving or other problems will develop.
  • Contact your physiotherapists for specific advice.

Ice or Heat?

  • Ice is preferred. Apply ice for 20 minutes each two to three hours until the "heat" comes out of the joint.
  • Once the "heat" has come out of your joint, heat packs can be used. We recommend 20 minute applications a few times a day to increase the blood flow and provide relief. Heat will also help your muscles relax.
  • If you're not sure what to do, please call us to specifically discuss your situation.

Should You Use a Compressive Bandage / Support?

  • Yes. If it is possible to apply a compressive bandage, brace or elastic support to the joint, it will help to control swelling and pain.
  • Please ask your physiotherapist if you are uncertain what to do next.


  • Gravity will encourage swelling to settle at the lowest point.  Elevation of a swollen arthritic joint is helpful.  Think where your swelling is and where your heart is. Try to rest your swollen joint above your heart. Obviously some joints are impossible or it would be detrimental to elevate, so please use your common sense and be guided by your pain.

What If You Do Nothing?

Research tells us that neglected arthritic joints become stiffer, weaker and suffer lingering pain.  It's important to remember that symptoms lasting longer than three months become habitual and are much harder to solve.  The sooner you get on top of your symptoms the better your outcome.

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Last updated 17-Mar-2019 02:25 PM

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