Sip ginger tea
Numerous studies have found that ginger can mimic NSAIDs, the front-line drugs for arthritis pain relief. It seems to work by curbing pain-causing chemicals that are part of the body’s inflammatory response—without the side effects common in medications. Use powdered, raw, or lightly cooked fresh ginger liberally on food. Make your own ginger tea by simmering slices of ginger for 15 minutes in a few cups of boiling water, or buy ginger tea bags at the supermarket. And don’t miss these arthritis symptoms you could be ignoring.
Eat inflammation-fighting foods
Ditch the fast food, junk food, fried food, and processed food if you want to improve joint pain. A Swedish study of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients found that those who switched to a Mediterranean-style–eating plan (think fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, fish, olive oil, nuts, garlic, onions, and herbs) had less inflammation and regained some physical abilities as a result. Here are 16 anti-inflammatory foods that you can eat to reduce pain.
Breath in fragrant spices
Pleasant aromas like lavender can alter the perception of pain, studies show. Japanese researchers found that lavender reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can make you feel relaxed and less aware of pain. But lavender isn’t the only pleasant aroma that works as a natural home remedy for arthritis pain relief. Korean researchers found that arthritis patients experienced less pain and were less depressed when they were exposed to the aromas of a variety of kitchen spices, including marjoram, rosemary, and peppermint. For a pain-soothing aromatherapy treatment, add a teaspoon of one of these dried herbs to a quarter-cup of olive, coconut, or vegetable oil. Take a whiff periodically. Don’t miss these other soothing essential oils for arthritis pain relief.
Wash dishes by hand
It sounds counterintuitive, but this simple kitchen task soothes hands experiencing arthritis pain. How does that work? First, dipping your hands in hot water can help relax muscles and joints and relieve stiffness. Second, the exercise of gripping and spongeing helps keep your hands and fingers mobile, which also helps with joint pain relief.
Make your own heat pad
Fill a cotton sock with uncooked rice grains and seal it. (Caution: Don’t use a synthetic-fiber sock, which could melt if heated.) Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. When it cools down slightly but is still nice and warm, place it on sore, stiff joints. Your DIY heat pad should stay warm for about half an hour. The rice grains will shape to your body and provide soothing heat. If you have lavender or another fragrant herb on hand, toss it in with the rice grains for an additional relaxing aromatherapy treatment, too. Check out these other home remedies for arthritis even doctors recommend.