4. Stretch every day. Stretching increases a joint's range of motion. This not only fights stiffness, but also helps protect the cartilage from further 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 keep the joints moving and improve flexibility. "Don't feel like you have to be perfect in class. Instructors will accommodate people with limitations."
5. Try glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. Glucosamine and chondroitin may protect your cartilage. There is no proof that either supplement will rebuild cartilage or slow the progression of arthritis. But some studies suggest they can reduce arthritis pain.
6. Use over-the-counter pain relievers for flare-ups. Over-the-counter pain relievers include naproxen (Aleve), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), aspirin, and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Check with your doctor to decide which pain medication is safe for you. Make sure to read the label and take them only as directed.
Over-the-counter pain relievers are a good choice for short-term relief during flare-ups of arthritis pain, Schneiderbauer says. If you think you need a daily pain reliever, talk to your doctor to see which one is right for you. "If you end up taking it for months or years, it may be time to think about joint replacement surgery."
7. If home therapies fail, ask your doctor about injections. Cortisone injections are good for short term flare-ups. Hyaluronan injections may help too. Hyaluronan may work as a lubricant and anti-inflammatory in the joint.