Pain Relief Options

As a rheumatologist, I see patients suffering from chronic pain every day and do my best to offer both strategies and support to help with the pain.   Most of my patients suffer from osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis which is characterized by degeneration of cartilage over time. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the joints and result in joint and systemic inflammation.  Fibromyalgia is another condition that causes widespread chronic muscle pain.

My patients are all unique and want different things to treat their condition. 

Here are some pain relief options to consider when you or your loved one is dealing with pain.


I know this option may be tough for some, especially those individuals who don’t like pills or are worried about side effects.  I understand how concerning these side effects can be. However, some of these medications may help reduce inflammation and therefore pain. Some therapies may include:

  • Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs– (Naproxen, Ibuprofen, Celecoxib, Indocin) This class of drug blocks certain enzymes  can reduce pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Acetaminophen/Tylenol
  • Glucosamine and Chrondroitin Sulfate supplements are sometimes considered for anti-inflammatory agents for osteoarthritis.  These substances are found in healthy cartilage, the connective tissue of the body.
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)-This medication, which acts on the central nervous system may be used for chronic musculoskeletal pain due to chronic low back pain, fibromyalgia and knee osteoarthritis. 
  • Steroids-  Similar to our body’s natural cortisol, this therapy may reduce the production and secretion of certain chemicals that cause inflammation and tissue damage. By reducing the immune system activity, pain can be relieved. There is concern about side effects such as high blood glucose levels, high blood pressure, easy bruising, cataracts, bone loss and stomach irritation or ulcer disease.  Steroid injections into joints or the spine may also be an alternative option.


This ancient Chinese medical therapy involving inserting needles into specific points of the body has been researched for pain relief for osteoarthritis or fibromyalgia.  Many of my patients have tried this therapy and some report relief, even if it may be from placebo effect. I always advise them to have a licensed and certified acupuncturist to perform the needle insertion.

Hot and Cold Therapy

This can be used in the beginning stages of pain.  Individuals suffering from arthritis often report that a warm shower, sauna or bath has some benefit to relax the muscles and joints.  For initial pain and inflammation, applying an ice pack can provide rapid joint inflammation relief. Keep an ice pack on hand! 

Shed Those Pounds

 Extra weight puts more pressure on the joints! Lose the weight and reduce the stress on those joints!


Meditation goes a long way in reducing arthritis pain by stress reduction.  Many patients suffering from chronic pain may also have depression. Some individuals find pain reduction with mindful meditation.  Yoga and Tai chi may be the activity to engage in for this objective!  You can also listen to calming music, go to the beach, or perform deep breathing.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy can help with improving flexibility and reducing stiffness. It’s spa time!

Herbal Supplements

Herbal supplements or spices have been used by many patients.  I get so many people asking about adding tumeric to food for its anti-inflammatory effects.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids in one’s diet can possibly help reduce pain and help improve arthritis.  Consider incorporating fish oil supplements!

You Got To Move It!

 Low impact activities like swimming or water aerobics can help maintain joint flexibility and help with pain relief.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Therapy

Also known as TENS units may help reduce pain and inflammation through pulses along nerve fibers.

There are many pharmaceutical and natural remedies for pain relief which should be considered for chronic pain from arthritis.  I am not a fan of narcotics for obvious reasons. Lately, many individuals have also inquired about the controversial medicinal marijuana and CBD products. Always have a candid conversation with your physician or pain management specialist about the nature and severity of your chronic pain.


  • Keep a positive outlook
  • Reduce the stress
  • Stay Active 
  • Find Support!

If you suffer or know someone suffering from chronic pain, it is important to take one day at a time and know there are ways to aid pain that will help make each day a little easier. 

Disclaimer:  This blog contains my personal opinion based on personal and clinical experience, tips from trainers, health coaches and lastly research.  This blog does not endorse specific treatments, procedures, products.  You should always consult with a doctor, nutritionist, or other healthcare professional to discuss your own health and lifestyle goals and regimen based on your medical history.  Thank you for reading!