image of woman sitting on floor grabbing her knee

How to Get Relief from Arthritis Pain

If you have arthritis, you’re not alone. Over 50 million Americans have some form of arthritis. It’s important to know that there are many ways to get relief from arthritis pain. In fact, many people with arthritis can lead full and active lives through a combination of treatments and lifestyle changes.

Making lifestyle changes

A healthy lifestyle can go a long way when it comes to managing arthritis pain. You might not realize just how much impact simple changes can have on arthritis.

1) Get active – While you might find movement to be painful, physical activity is actually really important for those who have arthritis. Exercise can help improve flexibility and strengthen muscles in order to ease tired, achy joints. Consider asking your doctor or physical therapist for help putting together an exercise routine geared at relieving pain without putting additional stress on your joints.

image of woman stretching on her run

2) Manage your weight – If you’re overweight, dropping even a few pounds can significantly alleviate pressure on your joints.

Avoid smoking – Cigarette smoke can aggravate the pain associated with arthritis so it’s important not to smoke.

4) Treat yourself to massage – Some studies suggest that regular massage can help improve pain and stiffness related to arthritis.

image of person getting a massage

5) Opt for an anti-inflammatory diet – Certain foods may have the ability to reduce inflammation in the body. Follow a healthy diet that includes staples like fish, whole grains, beans, nuts and fresh vegetables. Avoid sugar and processed foods.

image of healthy foods

6) Try insoles or orthotics – Properly fitted shoes can get a boost with products like Dr. Scholl’s® Pain Relief Orthotics for Arthritis Pain. These orthotics absorb the pain-inducing shock that can aggravate sensitive arthritic joints. They also help stabilize feet to reduce stress on the joints in your feet, knees and hips.

Available treatments for arthritis

There are many different treatment options available for arthritis. It’s important to work with your doctor to find a regimen that works for you.

1) Topical pain-relieving products can be applied directly to achy, painful joints for immediate relief. Common ingredients in these products include:

  • Capsaicin – an ingredient that helps block pain signals
  • Lidocaine – a numbing agent
  • Menthol – an ingredient found in mint plants that creates a warming sensation
  • Salicylates – a type of ingredient that reduces pain and inflammation
  • Diclofenac sodium – a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication found in products such as Dr. Scholl’s® Arthritis Pain Reliever
image of woman applying cream on foot

2) Over the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate pain and in some cases reduce inflammation. These include:

  • Ibuprofen, the active ingredient in brands such as Advil and Motrin.
  • Naproxen, the active ingredient in brands such as Aleve.
  • Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in brands such as Tylenol. Acetaminophen is effective for pain but not inflammation.

3) Corticosteroids can be prescribed by a doctor in order to suppress the immune response that leads to inflammation.

4) Prescription medications may be prescribed by a doctor for more severe pain that doesn’t respond well to over-the-counter medications. These include:

  • Opioids – a class of drugs that block pain signals
  • Biologics – genetically-engineered medications that target a specific source of inflammation in the body
  • Immunosuppressants  – medications that suppress the immune system’s response which causes inflammation
  • Prescription-strength NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

Don’t let arthritis get you down. Understanding all of the tools available to help you manage your pain is the first step towards an active, healthy life. Work with your doctor to come up with a comprehensive plan for managing your arthritis symptoms.


Frequently Asked Questions
Is arthritis painful?

One of the key symptoms of arthritis is pain. However, the degree of pain will vary depending on severity and the exact type of arthritis. 

What is the best pain medication for severe arthritis?

There is no single best pain medication for severe arthritis. It’s important to work with your healthcare provider in order to find the best solution for you. When the symptoms of arthritis don’t improve with over-the-counter medication and self-care measures, doctors can prescribe stronger medications. 

Prescription NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are often prescribed for severe arthritis. These include celecoxib, indomethacin, diclofenac, and fenoprofen. 
Corticosteroids are also often prescribed for severe arthritis. These medications control inflammation by suppressing the immune system.

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are often the drug of choice for rheumatoid arthritis. Like corticosteroids, DMARDs address inflammation by suppressing the immune system. They also have the ability to prevent joint damage from arthritis.

Where is hip arthritis pain felt?

Hip arthritis pain is typically felt in the groin. However, it’s also possible for hip arthritis pain to be felt in the outer region of the thigh as well as the upper region of the buttock. 

Does heat help arthritis pain?

Yes, heat can be helpful for arthritis pain. Heat therapy can ease stiff joints, relieving discomfort. You can benefit from heat therapy by taking a hot bath or applying a warm compress or heating pad to the affected joints.

What does arthritis pain feel like?

Since there are many different types of arthritis and people are affected differently, arthritis pain doesn’t always feel the same for everyone.  With the most prevalent types of arthritis, it’s very common to experience a dull ache or burning pain directly in a joint during or following physical activity, or at the end of the day. Arthritis pain commonly worsens gradually over time, and it can cause joints to become sore and tender to the touch. The pain may be constant in some cases while in other cases, the pain may come and go.

What helps arthritis pain?

Over-the-counter medications and home remedies can help arthritis pain, including:

Hot and cold therapy — Heat can relieve stiffness and improve circulation while cold can reduce inflammation and pain from arthritis. An ice pack can be applied to painful joints several time a day for up to 20 minutes. You can also use a warm compress or heating pad regularly to help with stiffness.

Pain relievers — Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin can help arthritis pain. Topical pain relievers like Dr. Scholl’s® Arthritis Pain Reliever can be applied directly to painful joints for fast relief.

Orthotics — Adding orthotics to shoes can help arthritis pain by absorbing impact and protecting tender joints. Dr. Scholl’s® Pain Relief Orthotics for Arthritis Pain provide long-lasting relief from arthritis pain in the knees, hips and feet.

In cases where symptoms are severe and home remedies don’t help arthritis pain, a doctor may recommend medications that are only available with a prescription. Other treatments such as injections or surgery may also be recommended.

What is the best pain medication for rheumatoid arthritis pain?

Your healthcare provider can help you determine which medication is best for you. People with arthritis may need to try different treatments in order to determine which options work best for them.

How to relieve arthritis pain in hands?

There are many options for relieving arthritis pain in hands. Many healthcare providers recommend starting with conservative therapies first, including:

Hot and cold therapy — Alternating hot and cold packs can help relieve arthritis pain in hands. Heat can help with stiffness in the hand joints while cold can help ease pain and swelling.

Hand exercises — Stretching and strengthening exercises for the hands can help ease pain and improve range of motion. You can work with a physical therapist to find effective exercises for your hands.

Hand splint or brace — Wearing a hand splint or brace can help provide support and stability, reducing arthritis pain. Ask your healthcare provider or physical therapist for guidance.

Pain relievers — Over-the-counter pain medications can be helpful for arthritis pain in hands. Ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen can help reduce pain and inflammation. Diclofenac sodium is another option. It can be found in topical products like Dr. Scholl’s® Arthritis Pain Reliever. When applied directly to painful hand joints, the pain reliever delivers fast results right where you need it.

See your healthcare provider if you continue to experience arthritis pain in hands despite home care. In cases where hand arthritis pain is severe, doctors can prescribe stronger medications. Injections and surgery may also be recommended for arthritis pain in hands. 

What do doctors prescribe for arthritis pain?

Doctors often prescribe NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), corticosteroids and DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs) for arthritis pain.

Corticosteroids may be taken orally, administered intravenously, applied topically or injected directly into an affected joint. Corticosteroids commonly prescribed for arthritis include:

• Prednisone 
• Cortisone
• Methylprednisolone 

NSAIDs commonly prescribed for arthritis include:
• Etodolac (Lodine®)
• Sulindac (Clinoril®)
• Diclofenac (Cataflam®, Voltaren®)
• Oxaprozin (Daypro®)
• Piroxicam (Feldene®)
• Meloxicam (Mobic®)
• Nabumetone (Relafen®)
• Choline magnesium salicylate (Trilasate®)
• Ketoprofen (Orudis®, Oruvail®)
• Indomethacin (Indocin®)
• Celecoxib (Celebrex®)

DMARDs commonly prescribed for arthritis include:
• leflunomide (Arava®)
• infliximab (Remicade®)
• methotrexate
• adalimumab (Humira®)
• etanercept (Enbrel®)
• rituximab (Rituxan®)
• abatacept (Orencia®)
• Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil®)
• tocilizumab (Actemra®)
• anakinra (Kineret®)
• golimumab (Simponi®),
• certolizumab pegol (Cimzia®),
• sulfasalazine