Are There Natural Treatments for RA?
You’ll need to keep up with your usual medical care, but some additional treatments might help, too.
Many of them are simple, like using heat and ice packs. Others, like acupuncture, need a trained pro.
Ask your doctor what would be most helpful for you, and if there are any limits on what’s OK for you to try.
Heat and Cold
Many doctors recommend heat and cold treatments to ease rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
Cold curbs joint swelling and inflammation. You can apply an ice pack to the affected joint during an RA flare-up, for instance.
You don't want to overdo cold treatments. Apply the cold compress for 15 minutes at a time with at least a 30-minute break in between treatments.
Heat relaxes your muscles and spurs blood flow. You can use a moist heating pad or a warm, damp towel. Many people like using microwaveable hot packs.
Don't go too hot. Your skin shouldn’t burn.
You can also use heat therapy in the shower. Let the warm water hit the painful area on your body. That may help soothe it.
A hot tub is a good way to relax stiff muscles. Just don’t use hot tubs or spas if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or are pregnant.
Magnet therapies come in a variety of forms, such as bracelets, necklaces, inserts, pads, or disks. You can find them at most natural food stores.
Most research on magnets has been done in people with osteoarthritis, the wear-and-tear type of arthritis linked to aging, not RA.
In people with knee and hip osteoarthritis, some early studies have shown they improved joint pain better than a placebo. Doctors don’t know exactly how magnets might relieve pain, and it’s not clear if they might also help people with rheumatoid arthritis.
They can help you manage stress. They’re also good for sleep and pain management.
Deep breathing: Take slow breaths from your belly. It can calm you and pull you back from stress.
Progressive muscle relaxation: To do this, tighten and then relax the muscles in different parts of your body. You can work your way down the body, starting with your face muscles, followed by your neck, arms, chest, back, belly, legs, and feet. Or work your way up from your feet. Breathe in as you contract your muscles. Breathe out when you let go.