What to do

Therapies that interrupt destructive mind-body interactions include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. This well-studied, effective combination of talk therapy and behavior modification helps you identify — and break — cycles of self-defeating thoughts and actions.
  • Relaxation therapy. Find ways to relax. Meditating, doing yoga, deep breathing, listening to music, being in nature, writing in a journal — whatever works for you. There's no downside to relaxation, and it can help ease pain.
  • Acupuncture. Some people experience pain relief through acupuncture treatments, when a trained acupuncturist inserts hair-thin needles at specific points on your body.
  • Heat and cold. Use of heat, such as applying heating pads to aching joints, taking hot baths or showers, or immersing painful joints in warm paraffin wax, can help relieve pain temporarily. Be careful not to burn yourself. Use heating pads for no more than 20 minutes at a time.

    Use of cold, such as applying ice packs to sore muscles, can relieve pain and inflammation after strenuous exercise.

  • Massage. Massage may improve pain and stiffness. Make sure your massage therapist knows you have arthritis and where.