Is it getting more painful in your knees to walk? Has your doctor begun trying different varieties of pain and anti-inflammatory medicine as part of your arthritis treatment? Talk with your doctor about some of the following alternative approaches to pain relief in your knees. You may find that a combination of medication and alternative techniques will give you enough relief to enjoy being active again.
1. Heat Therapy
Heat increases the circulation in your knees and limbers up stiff joints. Use a microwaveable or electric heating pad on your knees for several minutes before walking. The heat will also loosen up the muscles in your knees before exercising or seeing the physical therapist.
2. Cold Therapy
Cold reduces the inflammation in muscles and joints. If your knees are swollen and painful, place a frozen gel pack or a package of frozen vegetables on your joints. Be proactive and use a cold pack on your knees after a walk or exercising to prevent swelling from occurring.
This technique reduces your pain by causing tense muscles to relax. Practitioners of acupuncture also believe that stagnant energy in the body is moved along by placing the needles in the right points under the skin. This energy movement reduces your pain. A related technique, called acupressure, uses the fingertips to put pressure on the energy points. Your acupuncture practitioner can show you this technique so you can do it at home on your knee pain.
4. Diet Additions
Two fatty acids, omega 3 and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), reduces joint pain, swelling and stiffness in some people. You get omega 3 by eating fish, flaxseed and walnuts. The GLA is found in blackcurrants and hemp seeds. You can also find supplements that contain these fatty acids. Talk with your doctor first before making any diet changes to make sure there are no conflicts with your health or medications.
5. Herbal Treatments
There are also a number of herbs that you can try which some people find relieve them of arthritis pain and swelling.
- Frankincense - Also sold as boswellia in an herbal shop, this herb relieves inflammation in arthritic joints. It can be made into a tea or taken in capsule form.
- Ginger - This aromatic herb can be made into a tea to reduce pain and swelling in joints.
- Eucalyptus - This herb comes in a cream that you rub into your knee joints to reduce inflammation.
- Turmeric - This is a spice often found in Indian dishes. It is used for its anti-inflammatory properties.
When combined with your prescription pain and anti-inflammatory medication, these alternative therapies can give you better relief from your arthritic knee pain.