The appropriate treatment for arthritis depends upon the underlying cause of the joint pain and inflammation. However, during arthritis flare-ups, treatment for arthritis, regardless of its cause, involves providing fast relief from pain and inflammation.
The first line treatments for arthritis that rapidly reduce pain include applying ice and heat to the affected area, taking fast acting pain relief drugs and massaging the joint.
How to Get Fast Relief from Arthritis Flare-Ups
Heat and Cold Therapy
You can apply only heat or cold therapy or alternate heat therapy with cold therapy for reducing the pain and inflammation of the joints. The appropriate therapy varies from person to person. Through trial and error, most patients are able to recognize the best therapy for reducing the joint pain.
Both heat and cold therapies work by altering the sensation of pain. Applying heat to the affected joints dilates the blood vessels in the area, thereby improving blood circulation that helps to reduce pain and muscle spasm. Applying ice or cold pack to the painful joints rapidly reduces swelling. Cold therapy is especially effective in alleviating deep pain.
Appropriate massage therapy can rapidly reduce your arthritis pain. Gliding your fingers gently on the swollen painful knee is the simplest arthritis pain relief massage. However, it is advisable to seek a therapeutic massage from an experienced therapist. Traditional Swedish massage is especially effective in decreasing arthritis pain and improving mobility of the joints.
Apply Capsaicin-Based Ointment
Capsaicin is the main bioactive component of chili peppers. It is a powerful numbing agent. Applying a small amount of capsaicin ointment to the painful knee provides fast relief from pain. Capsaicin works by obstructing transmission of the pain signals to the brain, thereby reducing the sensation of pain.
Apply Salicylates-Based Ointment
Salicylates are powerful anti-inflammatory compounds. They are the main ingredients in a number of oral fast acting pain relief medications such as aspirin. Salicylates are also available in the form of topical medications. Applying salicylates-based ointment to the painful knee inhibits the activities of inflammatory mediators in the area, which provides rapid relief from inflammation and pain.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs are most effective in reducing pain and inflammation of the knees. Drugs that provide fast relief from arthritis flare-ups include aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. These drugs of standard strength are available over-the-counter.
However, for treating severe knee arthritis pain, you may require prescription NSAIDs. NSAIDs work by suppressing activities of certain substances produced by the immune system that trigger inflammation. Adverse reactions do not occur by consuming optimal dosages of these drugs for a limited period.
In a small number of cases, severe arthritis flare-ups that do not respond to standard pain relief medications are treated with opioids. They provide immediate relief from arthritis pain. Given the risk of addiction, these powerful pain relief drugs are prescribed occasionally by doctors.