Arthritis Home > Nonmedication Options for RA Pain

Exercise
Swimming, walking, low-impact aerobic exercise, and range-of-motion exercises may reduce joint pain and stiffness. In addition, stretching exercises are helpful. A physical therapist can help plan an exercise program that will give you the most benefit (see Rheumatoid Arthritis and Exercise).
 
Surgery
In select patients with rheumatoid arthritis, surgery may be necessary. The surgeon may perform an operation to remove the synovium (synovectomy), realign the joint (osteotomy), or, in advanced cases, replace the damaged joint with an artificial one (arthroplasty).
 
Total joint replacement has provided not only dramatic relief from pain, but also improvement in motion for many people with rheumatoid arthritis.
 
Alternative Therapies
Many people seek other ways of treating their disease, such as special diets or supplements. Although these methods may not be harmful in and of themselves, no research to date shows that they help. Some people have tried acupuncture, in which thin needles are inserted at specific points in the body.
 
Some alternative or complementary approaches may help you to cope with or reduce some of the stress of living with a chronic illness.
 
It is important to inform your healthcare provider if you are using alternative therapies. If he or she feels the approach has value and will not harm you, it can be incorporated into your treatment plan. However, it is important not to neglect your regular healthcare or treatment of serious symptoms.
 
(Click Alternative Therapies for Rheumatoid Arthritis for more information on options such as vitamins, herbs, magnets, and acupuncture.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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