Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Relief
Treatments that can provide short-term relief of rheumatoid arthritis pain include medications, heat and cold, and massage. Options for long-term pain relief include medications, exercise, and alternative therapies. NSAIDs like ibuprofen are among the drugs used for short-term pain. Drugs used for long-term pain relief can include NSAIDs, biological response modifiers, and DMARDs.
There is no single treatment that applies to everyone with rheumatoid arthritis pain, but your healthcare providers will develop a management plan designed to minimize your specific pain and improve the function of your joints.
Treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis are typically split into two categories: short-term pain relief and long-term pain relief.
A number of treatments can provide short-term pain relief. Some of these include:
- Heat and cold
- Joint protection
People with rheumatoid arthritis generally have pain caused by inflammation and often benefit from taking aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin® or Advil®) or naproxen sodium (Aleve®) that are available without a prescription.
Heat and Cold
Moist heat (such as a warm bath or shower) or dry heat (such as a heating pad) placed on the painful area of the joint for about 15 minutes may relieve the pain. An ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel and placed on the sore area for about 15 minutes may help to reduce swelling and stop the pain. If you have poor circulation, do not use cold packs.
Make sure to talk with your healthcare provider about using either heat or cold for your rheumatoid arthritis pain relief.