Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Arthritis Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Tai Chi for Arthritis Relief

Gentle movements of the ancient Chinese exercise tai chi are one of many alternatives to help elderly people find pain relief.

More Alternatives for Arthritis Pain continued...

Acupressure: This technique is similar to acupuncture, but it uses fingertip pressure rather than needles. Acupuncture actually evolved from acupressure. The pressure of fingertips on tender areas can help relieve pain by dispersing lactic acid that builds up in target areas. It is a safe technique that you can teach yourself.

Chiropractic: A chiropractor treats diseases by manipulating the spine and other body structures, based on the belief that many diseases are caused by pressure, especially of the vertebrae, on nerves. Many people believe very strongly in this therapy because they do get pain relief from the manipulations. Check the credentials of anyone administering this therapy.

Massage Therapy: Massage is an ancient form of pain management and stress relief. Our lives today tend to be stress-filled, and massage is one way to help us relax our muscles and let our bodies be refreshed. As you read this you can probably identify areas of stress in your body. Are your shoulders tense? Is your neck stiff? Are you clenching your teeth? All this tension really aggravates the pain of arthritis. Massage is a way to help us relax and allow the blood to flow naturally through our bodies.

Reflexology: This treatment is based on the concept that the muscles and organs of the body are affected by specific areas of the feet. When pressure is applied to these areas of the soles of the feet, other locations of the body relax.

Flotation Therapy: Floating in a pool filled with Epsom salts in a room with restricted light and sound is relaxing and therapeutic. The combination of relaxation, weightlessness, and the Epsom salts has been documented to relieve pain partly by stimulating endorphin production. 

Heat Treatment: Perhaps the oldest known treatment for arthritis is simply a hot bath to help loosen muscles and joints and relieve pain. People have been going to resorts with hot mineral springs for centuries. Heat can be found in a hot bath, hot pack, or a heating pad. Another method of heat application is hot paraffin. Paraffin baths are simply heated containers filled with melted paraffin and wintergreen oil. Beauty salons use them as a hand treatment, but for arthritis sufferers these baths are a way to get deep heat to the small joints in the hands or feet. After dipping the hand a dozen times to coat it with hot paraffin, you wrap it with plastic, cover it with a towel, and leave it until it is cool. The paraffin baths can be found at medical supply firms.

Cold Treatment: Cold, wet compresses or ice packs applied to the affected area work better than heat for soothing sharp, intense pain of an arthritis flare-up. Use cold treatment for 10 to 20 minutes but not longer or there could be damage to the skin.

Today on WebMD

Osteoarthritis Overview Slideshow
Slideshow
Sore feet with high heel shoes
SLIDESHOW
 
Knee exercises
Slideshow
Woman in gym
Slideshow
 
Woman shopping for vegetables
Slideshow
close up of man wearing dress shoes
Article
 
feet with gout
Quiz
WebMD iPad magazine, Jennifer Lopezz
NEW APP
 
salad
Video
Trainer demonstrating exercise for RA
Slideshow
 
Woman massaging her neck
Quiz
Xray Rheumatoid Arthritis
Slideshow