If you have arthritis, try to make regular exercise a part of your day. In addition to keeping your joints strong and your body flexible, exercise can help relieve arthritis pain. Being active also keeps pain from starting, helps to lose weight if needed and reduces stress.

What’s important is to strike the right balance between movement and rest. If you do too much, you could make your arthritis symptoms worse. If your pain is worse, you may end up avoiding activity altogether. The following tips from the Arthritis Foundation and other experts can provide relief from arthritis pain and stiffness:

  • Pace yourself. Plan your activities so you do not do too much at one time.

  • Take a break after your exercise session or in between housework or gardening tasks.

  • Don’t beat yourself up. If today you feel like taking it easy, maybe tomorrow you will have more energy. It may take time to figure out how much activity you can do without triggering pain or making your symptoms worse.

  • Do what you enjoy. If you are looking for joint-friendly activities, consider walking, tai chi, swimming or stretching.

  • Keep notes. A diary or journal can help you keep track of what exercises and how much activity bring on symptoms.

  • Talk to your doctor. Everyone’s situation is different. Ask your On Lok PACE care team to provide you with a joint-friendly exercise plan that will help get you moving, relieve pain, and make joints more flexible.

Arthritis treatments you can try at home

Two of the simplest ways to ease arthritis pain are cold and heat treatments. Choosing between cold and heat depends on the type of arthritis pain you have.

Cold treatments reduce blood flow to the area and cool down swollen joints and inflammation, helping to reduce pain.

  • Wrap a bag of ice or frozen vegetables in a towel to protect your skin. Then apply it to sore spots for no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time. You can also use a gel cold pack you buy at the store.

  • Give joints an ice bath. Soak painful areas in a container of ice and water. When the inflammation has gone down, heat therapy can help stiff joints.

If your joints are not swollen, heat treatments can have a soothing effect because they increase blood flow, which helps with healing. Try the following:

  • Take a warm bath or shower if your joints are stiff.

  • Soak in a warm pool.

  • Soothe sore joints with an electric heating pad for up to 15 to 20 minutes at a time. You can also use a washcloth soaked in warm water as a moist heating pad.

You might need to try different arthritis treatments to find out what works for you.. Sources: American College of Rheumatology; Arthritis Foundation; National Institutes of Health