Tips to Tame the Pain of Arthritis

Take proactive steps toward more freedom of movement.

Nearly 4.5 million Canadians suffer from arthritis, the leading cause of physical disability in Canada (3.6 million of them are over 45). By 2026, a total of six million Canadians aged 15 and older may be affected.

“Baby boomers are aging with arthritis. It’s inevitable,” says Dr. Blair Lamb, a pain and rehabilitation specialist who has designed stretching programs ( for many pain conditions. “Stretching specific to your pain condition in combination with other treatments can help treat chronic pain.”

According to the Arthritis Society, if you live long enough, the chances are you’ll develop some form of arthritis, but other than this, no one knows what causes the disease. From mild tendinitis to the more serious rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disorder, there are more than 100 different conditions, the most prevalent being osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, and the aforementioned RA.

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The common denominator is joint and musculoskeletal pain, often paired with inflammation. If you are experiencing soreness, swelling, heat and pain or there’s redness visible on your skin around the joints, see your doctor and get tested. As with all things, the earlier diagnosed, the better. (For more see —Charmaine Gooden



Say No to Arthritis: The Proven Drug-Free Guide to Preventing and Relieving Arthritis (Piatkus) by Patrick Holford

There are dietary pointers to “oil your joints,” which, as Holford explains, don’t actually lubricate but help reduce inflammation through the body’s conversion of these healthy oils into anti-inflammatory chemicals.

• Increase your intake of omega-3 fats.

• Eat nuts and seeds and their oils, like flax, sesame and sunfloweroil.

• If taking blood thinners, do not take high-dose fish oils without a medical consultation.

• Take an appropriate dose of GLA (omega-6).

• Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to ensure you get enough antioxidant nutrients to convert these essential fats.

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A Complete Illustrated Guide to Cooking With Arthritis (Tate) by Melinda Winner

Along with the tempting recipes, this physically challenged cook offers a unique perspective for working efficiently in the kitchen, with detailed tips on how to accommodate physical restrictions caused by arthritis, along with alternative strategies or tools for zesting, juicing, chopping, mixing and more.  (See


Promising fast relief from arthritis pain are two products from the folks at Rub A535. Extra Strength Arthritis Roll-On Lotion is usefully designed for applying to muscles or joints. Its three active ingredients fight pain: Triethanolamine salicylate, menthol and capsaicin. The no-odour Capsaicin Arthritis Cream is made from capsaicin naturally sourced from chili peppers and has a soft sponge applicator. Both come in easy-to-open packaging. New from the makers of Mentholatum Deep Heating, Deep Relief Arthritis Rub is an odourless, stainless, non-greasy formulation said to be deep-penetrating, providing faster and longer lasting relief. If a rub-down isn’t convenient, try taking a pill instead: Tylenol Arthritis Pain promises quick relief and is fast-dissolving, making it gentler on the tummy, too.


A study published in The Lancet medical journal showed that low-level light therapy is an effective treatment for chronic pain and can reduce inflammation. Now, with the first Health Canada-licensed light therapy medical device for at-home use, the Tända Professional Restore Light Therapy Treatment, you can benefit from this technology at your convenience. The device is strapped over the area to be treated and is compatible with bony prominences, pacemakers and surgical implants. Using clinical levels of infrared light delivered in three-minute intervals, it provides therapeutic warming and a temporary increase in localized blood circulation. There is also a cordless feature and portable strap, so the device can be attached during rehabilitation therapy, walking or exercising.

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The unit is currently available online or by prescription through licensed chiropractors to augment other therapies ( 


Fall options for exercising with arthritis are many