Stubborn arthritis pain sucks! Let’s solve it.
Your older adult shouldn’t have to suffer with ongoing arthritis pain. This disease can’t be cured, but can be kept under control with a combination of treatments and lifestyle changes.
Be persistent, it might take some trial and error before finding what works best for them.
1. Work with the doctor
Before their doctor appointment, observe or talk with your older adult over a few days to figure out where the pain is, when it’s worst, and what activities they struggle with.
Write down these observations and discuss them with the doctor. Having more information helps the doctor understand the symptoms, rule out any other problems, and recommend treatments.
2. Use heat therapy
Heat loosens up stiff joints and muscles, stimulates circulation, and reduces muscle spasms. Try heating pads, microwaveable heat wraps, air-activated heat patches, or pain relieving creams to figure out which is most effective. Protect delicate senior skin from direct contact with heat packs by keeping a thin cloth between the skin and heat source.
You can also make a DIY heat pack by microwaving a wet towel for 1-2 minutes. Put the hot towel in a plastic bag and wrap that with a dry towel. Instant heat at no cost!
3. Use cold therapy
If heat isn’t doing the trick, try cold therapy. Cold packs may be uncomfortable at first, but they can numb deep pain. Rubbing ice cubes or a small bag of ice over painful areas also reduces swelling and inflammation. Make sure to use a thin cloth to prevent skin from directly touching the cold pack.
DailyCaring tip: Some get the most arthritis pain relief using both heat and cold. Heat therapy sometimes works best earlier in the day because it relaxes the muscles around the joints. Cold therapy at the end of the day can minimize inflammation from daily activities.
4. Get moving
Many older adults with arthritis don’t want to move because it hurts. But not moving actually makes arthritis pain worse! It’s important that your senior doesn’t stay in the same position for too long. Throughout the day, they need to move, flex, and use the joints that hurt.
Encourage them to move around at least once an hour. If they resist, be creative and invent a reason for them to get up or change position. Bathroom trips count too! They should also add daily exercises to their regular routine.
It doesn’t matter what their fitness level is. Even carefully walking around the kitchen using a walker or going back and forth in the hallway is a good joint workout. Regular activity will reduce arthritis pain.
5. Massage it!
Having your older adult massage and rub their painful joints helps warm up and relax the area. It’s a great wind-down activity and might help your older adult sleep better.
If even gentle massage is painful, try using heat beforehand to warm the area first. Lotions or oils can also help.
6. Maintain a healthy weight
Being at a healthy weight is better for joints because more body weight = more pressure on joints. Did you know that losing just 1 pound takes 4 pounds of pressure off each knee?!
7. Add omega-3s to reduce inflammation
Taking omega-3 supplements or eating fish like salmon, sardines, herring, and tuna gives your senior more omega-3 fatty acids. This reduces inflammation levels in the body and can help decrease arthritis pain.
Make sure to ask your older adult’s doctor before adding any supplements in case they interact with any of their prescriptions.
By DailyCaring Editorial Team