How to Take Care of Your Joints
4. Stretch every day. It will help you improve your ability to move your joints. This not only fights stiffness but also helps protect the cartilage from more wear and tear.
"The more joints move, the more the cartilage gets nourished by the joint fluid," Bush-Joseph says. He recommends yoga or Pilates to make you more flexible. "Don't feel like you have to be perfect in class. Instructors will accommodate people with limitations."
5. Try glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. They may help protect your cartilage, though there's no proof that either one will rebuild it or slow down your arthritis. Some studies suggest they can ease your pain.
6. Use over-the-counter pain relievers for flare-ups. Some common ones are naproxen (Aleve), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), aspirin, and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Check with your doctor to decide which one is safe for you. Make sure to read the label and take them only as directed.
Over-the-counter painkillers are a good choice for short-term relief during flare-ups of arthritis pain, Schneiderbauer says. If you think you need one every day, talk it over with your doctor.
"If you end up taking it for months or years, it may be time to think about joint replacement surgery," Schneiderbauer says.
7. If home remedies fail, ask your doctor about injections.
Cortisone shots are good for short-term flare-ups.
Hyaluronan injections may help, too. It may work as a lubricant and anti-inflammatory in your joint.