Arthritis Treatment

Alternate Ways of Relieving Pain in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Photo by R+R Medicinals on Unsplash

As a general medical practitioner, my job is to give relief to the patient by treating his/her symptoms first and then the signs that come with it. In the case of arthritis, the symptoms vary- the sufferer may be having pain, stiffness of joints accompanied by inflammation of surrounding tissues and a feeling of general fatigue.

How do I tackle all of these? Medications are the easiest way out, but apart from medicines there are many other ways you can treat any arthritis. A case in point is rheumatoid arthritis[RA]. I have found that two home remedies work wonders in giving relief to the patients. They are-

  • Fomentation
  • Massage

Let’s learn more about these two methods-


What is fomentation? It is the application of either heat or cold to the affected joint and surrounding tissue. How does this method help? Well, whenever a part of our body is inflamed, that part may feel hot or cold. Hot when there is an acute inflammation and cold when the inflammation becomes chronic. Both cause pain.

Image designed by the author on Canva Pro

Cold fomentation is applied when there is an acute inflammation, such as in flare up of a joint in rheumatoid arthritis [RA]. Cold fomentation helps by preventing the buildup of inflammatory chemicals in the joint during acute phase of RA, which are termed as flare ups.

Hot fomentation, using a hot water bag or a bowl of warm water is useful in cases where there is joint stiffness as in chronic RA. Hot fomentation helps remove inflammatory chemicals that have built up in the joints during the course of RA by increasing the blood circulation in that area.

You can go through this article below for more details on fomentation.


Massage is a single word used to describe a method to treat the pain and discomfort in RA by pressing, kneading, and stretching the skin in the area of soreness. A good massage helps by-

  • Relieving tension in muscles surrounding the joint
  • Improving blood supply to the area under massage
  • Releasing stress caused by pain
  • Improving sleep that has been disturbed due to the discomfort of the RA.

Massage is a type of Accupressure that is applied to the affected joint and its surrounding tissues like the muscle and ligaments. The most common massage used in RA is the myofascial release massage. This type of massage helps relieve tension in the surrounding tissue and also help release the feel-good hormone- endorphin.

A massage can be preceded by a warm fomentation. Various types of massage oils are available that help the massager or masseur to slide smoothly over the affected part as well as give a feeling of pain relief for the patient.

Image showing different types of Massage
Image designed by the author on Canva Pro

In India, the barber usually offers a complimentary massage to the head and back whenever we visit for a haircut. I particularly enjoy this as it helps release the soreness and stiffness in my back caused due to prolonged sitting in one posture, especially while I am writing articles.

The article below will give you a detailed insight on massage therapy-

Hope you have enjoyed reading this short article on alternative treatment for arthritis. If you have any queries or suggestions, please add them in your comments.


I would like to mention here that this article contains affiliate links which you may find useful too.




Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Dr. K P Vasudeva Rao

Dr. K P Vasudeva Rao

I am Dr.K.P.Vasudeva Rao.I am a General Medical Practitioner living in India. I write blogs on my website:- on health related issues.