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When Arthritis Treatments Stop Working, These 2 “Home Remedies” Can Help, According to a Doctor

There are alternatives for managing pain.


For many older Americans, managing arthritis pain is a primary medical concern. Treatments run the gamut, and include everything from hot and cold compresses and OTC medications like acetaminophen and aspirin, to massages, joint immobilization, and Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). In recent years, physicians have also begun recommending acupuncture as part of a holistic approach to arthritis pain management.

The practice rests on the idea that pain occurs when the body is out of balance; and that by unblocking the life energy (qi) that flows along the body’s meridians, pain can be removed. Though historically rebuked by Western medicine, there is a growing consensus among a number of medical professionals that certain physiological mechanisms do occur when acupuncture is administered. The question, however, of the efficacy’s longevity remains. Does acupuncture remedy arthritis? Or is it merely a short-term fix for a long-term health problem?

A First for Women reader had firsthand experience with this subject, and she wrote in to ask our medical expert for advice. Below is the question and answer.

Q: My doctor recommended acupuncture for my arthritis. It worked great for a while, but recently my pain is back. What’s going on?

A: Acupuncture is an effective treatment for arthritis, but it works best for short-term pain management. Thankfully, there are other ways to alleviate your pain long-term.

One to try: an olive oil rub. Compounds in the oil help tame inflammation and reduce pain when applied daily. To get the perks, simply massage a teaspoon of the oil into your knees until absorbed; repeat daily.

You may also want to try sipping tart cherry juice: Research shows the sweet-tart juice helps ease pain-triggering inflammation. I suggest drinking 6 ounces daily of a brand with no added sweeteners, as extra sugar can cause more inflammation.

Meet our expert

Heather Moday, M.D., is director of the Moday Center in Philadelphia. She is board-certified in allergy and immunology, as well as integrative and holistic medicine. You can follow her on Instagram, where she shares information on health topics. And to ask her a question here, send an email to

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