(NC) For anyone living with a chronic condition, medication can make a world of difference to ease your symptoms. But according to the Arthritis Society, there’s also a lot you can do to manage pain without drugs.

1. Physical activity: Regular physical activity can help relieve arthritis symptoms, reduce pain, and improve your overall health. Exercise can also strengthen your muscles, which is crucial to supporting your joints. Some physical activity is always better than none.

2.  Meditation: While meditation can’t take away pain, research shows it can help you approach and manage it in a healthy way.

3. Heat and cold therapy: The use of gentle heat may help relax muscles and stimulate circulation, thereby decreasing pain. Cold therapy – in the form of frozen gel packs or ice – can reduce inflammation and swelling during a flareup. After using heat or cold, gently move the arthritic joint to reduce stiffness.

4. Rest: While physical activity can be beneficial, listening to your body and resting when you notice pain, swelling or increased heat around an affected joint can reduce the length of a flareup.

5. Massage therapy and acupuncture: These treatments are helpful for some people. Consult your physician before trying them for yourself and use a registered practitioner if you do.

Find more ideas at arthritis.ca.

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