Arthritis pain management: How ‘rubbing it better’ could ease joint pain – doctor’s tip

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Doctor Sarah Brewer revealed that “rubbing it better” could be a key component of your pain management strategy. She explained: “As children, we quickly learned that ‘rubbing it better’ really works for reducing the pain of knocks and sprains. The action of rubbing stimulates nerve endings in the area and helps to overwhelm the signals reaching the brain so pain perception is reduced.” Doctor Brewer elaborated: “This same concept plays a role when using rub-in creams and gels to treat sports injuries and painful joints in later life.”

As such, the use of CBD balm could be beneficial in reducing painful arthritic joints.

“The physical action of massaging in the treatment helps to warm the area, increasing blood flow,” said Doctor Brewer.

“This allows the active analgesic ingredients to sink into the skin more readily, as well as soothing discomfort and hastening healing.”

Doctor Brewer does recommend, however, that CBD balm is best used alongside CBD products intended for internal use, such as gummies.

“CBD taken internally can interact with the body’s receptors, targeting the pain from the inside out,” Doctor Brewer explained.

Meanwhile, CBD balm can be rubbed onto areas of targeted pain to reduce inflammation to “give direct relief at the source”.

Doctor Brewer added that endocannabinoid receptors are present within the skin and its nerve endings.

By applying topical CBD cream, the underlying inflammation is dampened and pain is suppressed.

“Research suggests that topical CBD also stimulates the release of our own morphine-like painkiller, beta-endorphin, for additional relief,” said Doctor Brewer.

“Some CBD is absorbed into the circulation and primes local immune cells to resolve inflammation.

“Preclinical studies show that rubbing CBD into a small patch of skin on the back for 30 seconds can reduce inflammation, swelling and pain in an arthritic knee after four days of regular treatment.”

Arthritis pain management

The NHS recommend strengthening exercises to manage painful arthritis symptoms.

“Exercise is one of the most important treatments for people with osteoarthritis, whatever your age or level of fitness,” the health body noted.

Pain relief medication is also advisable, such as paracetamol, which is best taken “regularly”.

The health body cautioned that “it’s best to take [paracetamol] regularly rather than waiting until your pain becomes unbearable”.

Do not, however, exceed the maximum dose stated on the packet as this could be dangerous.

GPs might also prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that work by reducing inflammation.

Some NSAIDs are available as creams so that you get the added benefit of “rubbing it in”, as Doctor Brewer said.

Another treatment option is using hot or cold packs to relieve painful joint symptoms.

Doctor Sarah Brewer is the medical director of Healthspan and author of CBD – The Essential Guide to Health and Wellness.

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