At-home solutions for arthritis pain

Arthritis pain affects more than 52 million people in the United States. While common treatments like medications and surgery can relieve discomfort, physical therapy is a drug- and surgery-free solution.

“The main reason why people come [for physical therapy] is because of pain,” physical therapist Karena Wu of ActiveCare Physical Therapy in New York City told “So they’ve lived with it for a really long time and they’ve gotten more and more limited in their daily activities.”

Wu suggested a few at-home solutions to relieve pain:

-A foam roller and “the stick”
“Both of those are hand-held devices that you can just roll… like you’re kneading dough and those will help loosen up the soft tissue around your joint,” Wu said.

Stretching, both dynamic and static, is also important for arthritis patients. Active range-of-motion stretches, such as rolling your neck, can also alleviate pain.

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“As I [roll my neck], I stretch, I contract on this side, my joints open up on this side and then I just switch sides so I’m getting some joint mobilty as well as some soft tissue mobility,” Wu said.

-Kinesiology tape
Kinesiology tape is made of a flexible material that mimics the elasticity of the skin and serves as a support while also increasing blood flow to the area. The tape can be purchased in pre-cut forms and applied to all areas of the body.

“Just being on it makes it feel better… on a neuromuscular level, it does help with retraining your muscle tissue, as well as the nerves that innervate them,” Wu said.

-Ice and heat
Wu said ice is a good way to treat pain 24 to 72 hours after an injury. Heat should be used for chronic pain only. With all at-home treatments, discontinue them if your pain persists and speak to a professional.