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Senior Living Blog

The Best Alternative Therapies for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Posted by Village Green Team on Jun 30, 2022 11:00:00 AM

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks healthy tissue.  The average age of onset of rheumatoid arthritis is about 50 years old, so many older adults find themselves challenged by new pain and mobility limits as the years stack up. Aging bodies present different challenges than their younger counterparts. From changes in hearing and vision to new joint aches, many older adults are interested in natural ways to combat natural changes before seeking medical treatment.

The Best Alternative Therapies for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Village Green Retirement Community is full of older adults interested in surrounding themselves with opportunities and community. Take advantage of our array of recreation and exercise opportunities and nutritious meal plans to keep your healthy lifestyle choices easy and convenient. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by deterioration and inflammation in your joints and connective tissue. People with rheumatoid arthritis usually notice symptoms in small joints like their fingers and toes first. About 40 percent of people who report rheumatoid arthritis in their small joints later develop inflammation and deterioration in other tissues such as skin, bones, eyes, nerve tissues, and kidneys.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

Common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Heat, pain, and tenderness in joints
  • Joint stiffness that’s worse in the morning or after inactivity
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever
  • Symmetrical symptoms on both sides of the body

Standard Medical Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Medical treatment for rheumatoid arthritis includes a continuum of treatment options. Most medical professionals propose alternative therapies before or in conjunction with medical options. Always speak with your care team about any changes you are planning to your health routine or if new concerns appear. 

Common medical treatments for rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMADs) like:
    • leflunomide (Arava)
    • sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
    • hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
    • methotrexate (Trexall)
  • Injectable Biologics  such as:
    • abatacept (Orencia)
    • adalimumab (Humira)
    • certolizumab pegol (Cimzia)
    • etanercept (Enbrel)
    • infliximab (Remicade)
  • Injectable corticosteroids for short-term pain relief
  • Janus Kinase Inhibitors 
  • Opioid pain medication

Do you have other health needs? Our clinical care services streamline many medical services you may require.

Alternative Therapies for Rheumatoid Arthritis 

Treating rheumatoid arthritis without medication involves a menu of options from which you can build a personalized plan. Many of these therapies are an important part of your care plan, even if your doctor is treating your rheumatoid arthritis with medication. Natural remedies to reverse arthritis rarely include just one strategy. You must tend to several aspects of your health, such as movement and nutrition in order to reduce arthritis-related inflammation. Popular alternative strategies for treating rheumatoid arthritis include:

Alternative Therapies for Rheumatoid Arthritis 

Yoga/Gentle Exercise

Movement and gentle exercise are good ways to keep sore joints mobile and preserve range of motion. Yoga is a fantastic and accessible method of stretch and movement for older adults. Yoga offers numerous health benefits and can be modified for diverse physical needs and experience levels.

Balanced Nutrition

Eating better can help you feel better, even if poor nutrition isn’t directly causing your problem. A healthy diet high in fiber, protein, vegetables, and good fats and low in sugar and processed carbohydrates is often recommended to reduce inflammation. 

Vitamins and Supplements

The market for vitamins and supplements is a notorious wild-west of unsubstantiated claims. It can be difficult to wade through the nonsense and fads and choose sensible dietary supplements. Many supplements are supported by mixed research at best but are relatively inexpensive to try. Be sure to talk over any supplements you are considering with your doctor. Several vitamins and supplements are popular for treating rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Glucosamine and chondrotin
  • Fish Oil
  • Tumeric
  • Iron
  • Folate
  • Vitamin D


Acupuncture draws on an ancient practice of strategically placing very small needles to release pain and illness. Research to support this practice is mixed, but many patients report improvement. Many residents who deemed acupuncture “worth a try” are glad they did.

Heat and Cold

Applying temporary hot or cold to painful areas reduces inflammation and increases circulation, reducing pain. Keep a warm rice bag or cool gel pack for sore days. Consider over-the-counter rubs that also recreate the feeling of heat or cold.


Hydrotherapy is not swimming or water aerobics. Both are great gentle exercises and absolutely have a place in a healthy anti-inflammatory routine. However, hydrotherapy for rheumatoid arthritis involves submersing painful areas in a concentration of a mineral solution. 

New treatments for rheumatoid arthritis are constantly being introduced. Stay connected to a community that shares your interests and needs so that you don’t miss out on helpful new options.

Choose a Creative and Healthy Lifestyle at Village Green

Surround yourself with a community that can relate to your challenges and victories. Village Green Retirement senior living community in Federal Way, Washington is full of opportunities for recreation and connection. Head here to check out our living options and availability. We cannot wait to welcome you home.

Free Download! Best Vitamins for Seniors in West Seattle & How to Add Them to Your Diet | Village Green Retirement Campus


Tags: Senior Health, Senior Living 101, Retirement Tips