We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How can I Reduce Arthritis Swelling?

By Caitlin Shih
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
TheHealthBoard is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At TheHealthBoard, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

You can reduce arthritis swelling through a variety of medications and lifestyle changes. Although over-the-counter medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen are most commonly used in the early stages of arthritis, they can lose their effectiveness as the disease progresses. When this occurs, stronger prescription medications such as cortisone and some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be used. In general, these medications work best alongside healthy lifestyle changes such as a wholesome diet and the proper amount of exercise and rest. Other home remedies for arthritis swelling include fish oil or flax seed, eucalyptus oil and heat packs or ice packs, depending on the person. Stress reduction and alternative therapies such as massage and acupuncture have also been said to work for some arthritis patients.

NSAIDs work for arthritis swelling by blocking prostaglandins, which are a chemical that assists in the process of inflammation. Aspirin and ibuprofen are examples of NSAIDs that are available over the counter. Some stronger prescription NSAIDs also have been found to work for arthritis.

Cortisone is related to the hormone cortisol, which aids in suppressing the immune system to reduce swelling. This drug can be taken by mouth, used in a topical cream or injected directly into the joints. Cortisone shots are typically extremely powerful, and one shot can last as long as several months. High doses or long-term use, however, can result in adverse side effects such as osteoporosis, nerve damage, joint infection and increased blood pressure, among others. Cortisone treatments are therefore generally recommended only for short-term use and as a last resort when other medications have failed.

Different people can have different reactions to medication, so it is important to keep close track of your body as you try different medications and to speak with your doctor first about which might work best for you. It is generally agreed that a proper balance of regular exercise and rest also can greatly aid in reducing inflammation. Specifically, it is recommended that patients rest when the disease is especially severe but exercise during the times when the arthritis is mild. Exercises that do not strain joints, such as walking or swimming, are normally the best. Yoga can also be helpful in increasing flexibility and thereby strengthening joints.

The ideal diet for arthritis swelling can vary from person to person. In general, a nutritious, wholesome diet free of overly processed foods is the best. Certain foods, however, can worsen arthritis symptoms for certain people. Food journals are recommended to help you keep track of what works and doesn't work for you.

Heat — hot baths, heat packs or electric blankets — can help many people in reducing the swelling and stiffness that comes from arthritis. Heat does not work for everyone, though. Other arthritis patients might benefit more from ice packs, although these are not recommended for people who might have circulation problems.

Natural remedies such as omega-3 and eucalyptus oil have been reported to be helpful in bringing down swelling. Omega-3 can be found in flax seed or fish oil capsules, and eucalyptus oil can be rubbed directly onto the swollen area. Many people have also testified that alternative treatments such as massage therapy and acupuncture are effective for arthritis swelling, but the effectiveness of those treatments can vary from person to person. If you are thinking about trying massage or acupuncture therapy, speak to your doctor first, and make that sure your massage therapist or acupuncturist is a licensed practitioner who has experience in treating arthritis.

TheHealthBoard is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By SarahGen — On Sep 25, 2014

@turquoise-- If oral medications aren't cutting it, why don't you try a cortisone injection? It may sound scary but steroids like cortisone provide great relief from arthritis symptoms. And a single treatment can actually relieve symptoms for a significant period of time. Most people find relief for at leas six months. Some people are even pain free for two years.

Of course, you have to decide the best treatment with your doctor but do consider this as an option if the arthritis swelling just isn't responding to other treatments.

By serenesurface — On Sep 24, 2014

@turquoise-- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are mostly a temporary fix. It's not a good idea to use them regularly for long periods of time because they can cause stomach ulcers as a side effect.

Fish oil is actually an amazing source of omega 3. It's a natural anti-inflammatory. It can reduce pain and swelling much like NSAIDs. But be careful and never mix NSAID medications like aspirin with fish oil supplements in the same day. Aspirin thins blood and so does fish oil. It can cause excessive bleeding or cause issues in people who use coagulant medications. So it's best to avoid mixing them.

By turquoise — On Sep 24, 2014

I've been taking ibuprofen for my arthritis but as the article said, it is starting to lose its effectiveness. I will have to switch to something else soon.

I'm happy to hear about Omega 3 though. I do try to eat foods with omega 3. I'm not a huge fan of fish oil supplements but I may try that as well. I think fish oil supplements are the best source of omega 3.

TheHealthBoard, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

TheHealthBoard, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.