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Rheumatoid arthritis pain: Alternative methods to manage painful symptoms

Updated on December 12, 2013
Rheumatoid Arthritis pain can be managed
Rheumatoid Arthritis pain can be managed

Joint pain throughout the body is one of the worst symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis. This pain can lead to irritability, stress, depression, reduced mobility and even suicide. Many of the pain hormones that are released can also build up inside the body.

This is why it's important to find a way of dealing with arthritis pain.

Many suffered have their own pain management methods. Some people ignore tha pain while others learn to tolerate it.

People who are able to develop techniques to handle pain live far more fulfilled lives than those who struggle day-to-day with the symptoms.

Continue reading to find out how to manage pain.

Make lifestyle changes

No more late nights, coffees, chocolates and junk foods. These factors all worsen Rheumatoid Arthritis and add to the pain that people suffer. Instead, eat healthy fresh food and make a point of going to bed early and rising early.

Adapt the home

There may be a number of problems in the house. These could include steep stairs that prove difficult to walk up. Cupboard doors might be too heavy to open easily. Work surafces might even be too high or low.

Often, bending down to remove crockery from the disdhwasher can be strenuous and lead to pain. An electric opener may now be needed to opne tins. Could the kitchen be redesigned, with everything at hand and the dishwasher put onto a higher level?

The bathroom is another area where Rheumatoid Artritis sufferers have diffculties. Even turning on stiff taps can be difficult. Getting in and out of the bath can also often be a stuggle. This can be solve with plasted suction handles being fitted, or even buying, or borrowing an electronic bath chair from Occupational Health.

These small changes around the house will help to reduce the everday pain that a Rhematoid Arthritis suffere is likely to encounter. The key is to be aware of how your body feels as you negotiate the house - and come up with solutions.


Meditation is used by many people around the world to handle pain. Guided meditations and visualisations can also be used to manage Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms.

Begin by calming the mind and sitting comfortably. Focus on your breating and the sensations in your body. Move your awareness from the tip of your head to your toes as you feel the tension released.

A woman meditates by the sea. Meditation can be used as effective pain relief for Rheumatoid Arthritis
A woman meditates by the sea. Meditation can be used as effective pain relief for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Other meditation techniques could involve imagining peaceful situations such as being on the beach, in a forest or on a mountain.

One such example of somebody who used meditation for pain relief is Danny Penman. He broke his leg while paragliding over the Cotswolds and was in agony on the hillside as he wiated to be rescued.

Danny remembered a brief deep breathing meditation and was able to distance himself from the pain. In the weeks and months after the crash he used mindfulness meditation to manage the painful feelings and speed up his heeling.


Massage is a very effective way of managing pain. There is nothing like the sensation and feeling of having another person gently touch you and sooth your pain.

Massage can produce lots of good feelings in the body
Massage can produce lots of good feelings in the body

The intensity of the touch and the relaxing feelings can often be strong enough to fill the body and make every joint and limb feel amazing. What's more, the ralxation and happy chemicals produced in the brain will go a long way to helping to keep you feeling good.

Try to get a partner of close friend to give you a massage. Or you could book one at a local therapy centre or arrange for a therapist to vist your home.

Visualisation and positive thinking

Thinking negatively and being depressed do nothing to help our mental and physical states. In fact, this has been proven in a number of studies.

So do your best to maintain a bright and positive state of mind. Perhaps consider seeing a counsellor to help with this. The effects will rub off on your body and reduce painful symptoms.

Visualising having a strong, fit body will also help. Feel healthy joints and muscles. Or try to imagine a bright flower or powerful sun radiating healing energy onto your body.

Visualisation is powerful and is promted by high-profile figures such as Paul McKenna and in the book The Secret.


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    • profile image

      ramom 6 years ago

      I find massages intolerable. When a joint is hot,inflamed,and painful it is best for me to gently move it's through range motion. I find hot baths very helpful.The other suggestions are useful, but I think it s important to remember that some people have pain that is too severe to be controlled without medication. A pain management specialist is the kind of doctor to see, and the "alternative methods" are really "additional methods" for many of us with more severe disease. I wanted to point this out because sometimes when people with severe disease read article written like this they feel guilty about taking medication.

    • Iberkenbosch profile image

      Iberkenbosch 6 years ago from Amsterdam, Netherlands

      Thanks for the information! Is this also a possible cause for pain in your left arm:

      Thanks again!

    • Rickrideshorses profile image

      Rickrideshorses 6 years ago from England

      Thank you, Thelma. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 6 years ago from Germany

      Very informative hub. Massage can really ease the pain of a rheumatoid arthritis. Thanks for sharing.