Living with Arthritis

March 3, 2014

An elderly friend of mine has arthritis in her hands so bad that she can no longer put hair spray on. Her fingers are so weak and twisted that she can't push the nozzle down. In the paint section at Walmart, I ran across a pistol grip that is used for spray paint. It is so much easier than that little push nozzle! It just slips onto the can of paint.


Wala! The pistol grip fits her can of hair spray perfectly. Now I have one happy little lady!


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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
August 31, 2011

I have arthritis and don't like tight clothes; so, even my cotton blouses are loose. That means that when they are buttoned, I leave them that way all the time. They are easy to get over your head like a T-shirt, easy to leave on the hanger, and easy to throw on when you don't have much time.


Bronze Tip Medal for All Time! 64 Tips
October 17, 2004

When I have a choice I buy or make powdered soaps for laundry and the dishwasher. I have arthritis and don't want to carry the weight of the water which is what makes liquid products liquid.


I also put things in containers that are easier for me to handle than the original packaging.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 169 Posts
September 23, 2010

My sister told me about this several years ago. She had severe arthritis in her hands. I now have the same problem. She went to Ace Hardware and bought a little pistol grip handle for spray paint.


16 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

September 6, 2008

I have arthritis in my knee and I have tried everything I can think of to alleviate the pain, i.e., exercise, Advil, Motrin, prescribed pain medication, knee brace and creams. Please let me know what others have tried and been successful at. Thank you.

Marcia from Woodbury, VT


September 6, 20080 found this helpful

Have you talked to your doctor about having a knee arthroscopy?
The surgeon can scrape the bone and take off some of the damaged areas.
It's worth asking if your doctor feels it may relieve some of your pain.

By nora (Guest Post)
September 6, 20080 found this helpful

I have been amazed at how much my new medicine MOBIC has improved my pain. Ask your doctor for a trial amount. I saw relief in 24 hours.

By Susan (Guest Post)
September 6, 20080 found this helpful

Here is something natural. It is called Sombra and comes in cream (gel) form. You can find it online at

This helps me tremendously.

By Amy (Guest Post)
September 7, 20080 found this helpful

We use concentrated Cherry juice for all our joint pain and arthritis pain. is what we use. It really does seem to help tremendously! Good luck!

September 7, 20080 found this helpful

There are shots that your doctor can give you that can dull it for about six months

September 7, 20080 found this helpful

I've been taking Glucosamine HCL 1500mg with MSM 1500mg I get it at Costco's, but it's available in most drug stores. My knees have stopped grating and I can walk without the extreme pain I had before.


I also use "Heet"

By kaysee_mae. (Guest Post)
September 8, 20080 found this helpful

I use glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate. It has been doing a good job. The shots someone mentioned are Synvisc. I did use them before I had my one knee replacement. They DO stop the pain for about 4-6 months. A series of 3 (one a week) is all it takes.

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May 24, 2006

Has anyone got any comfort ideas for arthritic joints? Avoiding morning stiffness? Exercises? Most days I feel like the tin man.

Elizabeth from Ossining, New York


By jean (Guest Post)
May 24, 20060 found this helpful

Several suggestions, depending on which joints are affected.
Before going to bed, take a pain reliever. I use Aleve.
1. Before you get out of bed, extend legs, point and flex feet and rotate ankles in both directions. Do 10 times. Then bend kneees as close to chest as your body allows, then extend legs out straight. This helps knees/ankles. Do 10 times.


2. Sit on edge of bed,extend arms, and rotate shoulders 10 times in each direction.
3. Squeeze hands into tight fists, then spread open 10 times.
4. Take a hot shower.

These things help my shoulders, hands, knees, and ankles, the parts of my body that are stiff with osteoarthritis. There does not seem to be a way to avoid A.M. stiffness, but this routine lessens it, and helps me to move better.
I hope this will be helpful to you.


Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 791 Feedbacks
May 24, 20060 found this helpful

Take the combination of Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM in a daily pill or liquid. I've been taking it for several years now and no longer have arthritis symptoms in my hands and knees.


BTW - I'm 67 years old.

May 24, 20060 found this helpful

You might try 8 oz of grape juice mixed with 1Tbsp of Certo daily for a month.

By JODI (Guest Post)
May 24, 20060 found this helpful

I was under doctors care (therapy) for some time and the one thing they did for me (I had neck /shoulder problems) was to wrap warm towels around my neck for 15 minutes while laying down and relaxing. Sit up straight in chair, look to the right side and count to 5, look to the left and count to 5. Then look straight down (keeping the shoulders straight back and still sitting straight up) count to 5 and then look straight up counting to 5. Now lay your head down as far as you can on your right shoulder and count to 5, and, last, do the same thing only this time on the left shoulder.


While doing all these take deep breaths. Repeat all these several times. I have found that when starting to get headaches, I do these and sometimes this will get over the headache without taking anything. When I have waited too long and end up with a headache I have found taking 1 Midol will get rid of it in about 15 minutes. Also, when getting leg cramps, I also take Midol and this helps a lot. This may not help everyone but hope it does help


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 288 Posts
May 25, 20060 found this helpful

Old pioneer remedy...1 teaspoon honey,1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar mixed with a glass of warm water morning and evening.
My mother also added 8 raw almonds a day too. She never had arthritis. GG Vi

By Carol in PA (Guest Post)
May 25, 20060 found this helpful

I started taking glucosamine/chondroitin tablets about 4 months ago. I noticed a significant difference in my morning stiffness. I can get up and walk now.. smiles.

By sandy (Guest Post)
May 25, 20060 found this helpful

well it is now getting warm but i use a heated mattress pad. what a wonderful difference that has made. i feel much better in the morning. i also use lidoderm patches. it is like novacain in a patch and i put it on the most painful spot. i also take vinegar tablets a few times per day. i find vinegar is like a cure all for me. i started taking ginger again today. i hadnt had any but ginger is a antiinflammitory. hot showers. i also took a class at the ymca in the swimming pool. because of work i cant take it right now but want to get there again. sandysheep1 @ yahoo . com no spaces.

By jody greco (Guest Post)
May 29, 20060 found this helpful

go to a good rheumatologist...try Enbrel..i am not sure of the is a miracle is an injection 2 times a do not have to live with pain!

May 31, 20060 found this helpful

I have some kind of something going on and I often have very stiff, sore joints, worse in the morning and sometimes extreme joint pain. My doc has yet to be able to figure it out, but some things that have helped me get on with my day... before going to bed at night, I heat up my rice bag (with lavender & chamomile to encourage sleep) and go to sleep with it on my neck or hands or elbow...whatever is hurting. Sometimes I have two or three going...this often helps my morning pain. Also, try not to get chilled overnight...I always feel much worse when I am cold. First thing in the morning, I put the teapot on to boil water and start a cup of hot tea with raw honey and then throw the same heating pads in the microwave. Then I take a hot shower...just a quick one. Then the heating packs and hot tea are usually enough to take the edge off of the pain so that I can move around and the stiffening gets better the more I move around. I also take an Essential Fatty Acid supplement and am sure to get natural forms of EFAs as well (raw nuts, salmon, flax seeds) in my diet. The heat does wonders for relaxing my muscles and joints and long term, with the EFA supplementation, I've definitely noticed a difference!


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 174 Feedbacks
June 2, 20060 found this helpful

Hello Elizabeth, my hubby has arthritis in his back and he was using the heating pad with the warmth. But he spoke with his doctor and they told him no heat to use cold instead and when he switched he felt so much better quicker. Even if you switch back and forth maybe this would help....hope you feel better.......take care, Ruth

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February 3, 2010

My Mum is in her 50s and has arthritis. She has limited neck movement and has arthritis in her hands, legs, and feet. She can still walk though.

She is feeling a bit down at the moment as she doesn't feel she has a particular hobby or something that she does for herself. I have been trying to think of groups she could set up or join, but just don't know. Any ideas?

By H from UK

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July 6, 2006

I am nearly 65 years old and have a lot of arthritis throughout my body. I have a very hard time bending down or lifting anything that is even slightly heavy. My question is: Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can better organize my kitchen in order to lessen the amount of bending and lifting I do? I really love to cook, but it has become a real chore,

Judy from Birmingham, AL


July 6, 20060 found this helpful

First of all, you need to make a list of the things you use most frequently. Chances are, it is a few pots/pans, utensils, and dishes/glasses. Look at the storage space you have. How can you put these things so they'll be most accessible for you? Don't be hesitant to be unconventional.

For instance, my dishes are in a bottom cupboard. My reason for that was that I wanted my children to set the table and unload the dishwasher; and putting the dishes down below made it easier for them to do these tasks independently. Think "outside the box", as they say.

It might be easier for you to keep the saucepans you use most on the first shelf at eye level. (Or even leave them on the stove.) Keep the cooking utensils in a drawer close to the stove. Put seldom used items above and below (or better yet, put them in a box and store them--the less clutter, the easier to maintain organization.) You don't have to get rid of them, but if you're only using things once or twice a year, you don't need them in the kitchen.

As much as possible, use lightweight items--especially the cooking pans, etc. Put the cast iron away for when you have helpers around. It is easier to use several smaller, lighter baking dishes than one great big one.

If you have a utility cart, use it to carry things for you! If you don't have one, watch the garage sales or thrift stores for one. Use it to move groceries to the pantry, casseroles to the table, etc. (It is also good for things like carrying laundry baskets, cleaning supplies, etc.)

Here is something that has always amazed me that people have to be told....but....sit to work whenever possible! If you are peeling potatoes or slicing vegetables, sit at the table. Bring a tall stool into the kitchen and use it whenever possible! (Like sitting at the stove, or the sink.) Move baking operations to the table, as well.

Keep a good pair of kitchen shears handy. Use them to open bags and boxes and to cut chicken apart, etc.

Use labor-saving appliances if you have them! Put them on the counter where they will be easily accessible.

Keep a dishpan of soapy water in your sink when you are cooking. Use it to immediately wash things like knives, whisks, graters, measuring cups and so on before the food dries on them--you will lighten your load later.

If you have a pantry; put the heavy stuff on shelves that allow you to do very little lifting to get them onto your utility cart. While it isn't as thrifty, buy things in smaller containers, or get someone to help you bring in the bigger containers of ingredients, then transfer them to smaller containers for storage.

Plan your cooking sessions. Look at how you do things. Just because you have always done things in a certain order, doesn't mean it is the only right way to do them. If you take medication for your arthritis, plan your heaviest chores for when the medicine is at its most effective.

Call your local agency that helps the aging, and ask them if they have publications that may be helpful to you. They may even have someone to come out to your home to help you reorganize. I am an occupational therapist; and this is one of the things we look at in helping people stay as independent as possible.

If you have specific problem areas, please post--this forum is a great way to get ideas that might work for you!

July 6, 20060 found this helpful

On thing I forgot! Do try to get yourself a reacher, or ask for one for the next gift-giving occasion. They are available in several styles, and at places like Walmart. They can be invaluable for picking things up that you've dropped, or lightweight items on low shelves; as well as bringing things down from higher shelves.

July 6, 20060 found this helpful

I feel your pain! I found myself choosing not to use favorite cookware in my lower cabinets or even food items in my refrigerator because it hurt too much to bend over to retrieve the item. I finally had a lightbulb moment and made some changes that have helped me immensely. I got out the yardstick and started measuring the door opening widths of my lower cabinets and how deep the cabinets were. Then I headed to the dollar store (Dollar General, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree)with my tape measure in my pocket and started looking at their assortment of plastic storage baskets, bins, boxes, and dishpans. I figured out which ones would work together to fit on the shelves in my lower cabinets. I did move a few of my seldom used items to a shelf in my garage. The rest I grouped together according to use or type and set it in a plastic basket. One basket has cake pans and pie pans of various sizes: another has all the lids to my saucepans, another has my plastic storage containers etc. etc. These "filled" baskets all fit into my lower cabinets, some in front of the others. I took a wooden dowel rod and cut it to the length that is the same as the depth of my cabinets, 24 inches. I screwed a L shaped hook into one end of the dowel rod and I use this to "hook" any of the baskets or containers and pull it forward. It is much easier to pick up a basket and choose what you want out of it than it is to kneel and grope around in the cabinet while your knees and back are screaming! If the item you want is in the basket at the back of the cabinet it's very easy to just pull out the front baskets and set them aside for a moment. I keep my "hook" in the cabinet where I use it. My very favorite storage "baskets" turned out to be the regular sized cat litter pans from Dollar General! (Only $2.00!) They fit my cabinets well and had straight sides (Wal Mart's are slanted) so things stack and store in them better. (Make sure the baskets you choose will slide out the cabinet door easily. Ones that are too wide will defeat the purpose.) Best of all........the cat litter pans fit perfectly.....side by side...on the lower shelves of my REFRIGERATOR! No more stray items disappearing for months in the lower back of my refrigerator! I can just pull out the whole pan and choose what I want and slide the whole thing back in the refrigerator quickly! This has made cooking so much easier for is actually fun again and not a dreaded chore. I also love the grabber/gripper things. The ones I have are called Gopher. They are worth every cent of the $10.00 they cost! I have one in my basement laundry room..........GREAT for pulling the dry clothes out of the dryer! I have one in my kitchen........great for retrieving papers or items that fall under the table or behind the couch.........or at the back corner of your closet or under your bed! I have one in my car. It's a "Grandma car" with a big trunk. Sometimes things slide out of my reach in the trunk........or in the back seat too......and I can get the item with my Gopher. Perhaps you can adapt some of my ideas to your cirumstances and make your life easier. I think it would be a nice gift from a son or help your mother "redo" her cabinets in some way to make her life easier. It wasn't much fun when I pulled everything out of my cabinets and rearranged them. I was wishing I didn't have this "independent" streak a mile wide.....and had asked my daughter to come help me! I did get it done though and it has made things so much easier for me.

July 7, 20060 found this helpful

Thank you so much, Grandma Margie and Jilson for your wonderful ideas to help me live with arthritis. I kept thinking "why didn't I think of that" LOL!! I do have a grabber but don't use it nearly as much as I should. I keep thinking I should figure out a way to make a "holster" for it, so I have it with me at all times. As for anyone else with ideas, keep them coming. Thank you so much. Judy

By Carol in PA (Guest Post)
July 11, 20060 found this helpful

My sister has RA and osteoarthritis as well. She keeps just about everything at waist level in her kitchen. She bought a shelving unit made for shoes and put it on the kitchen counter. This adds extra storage at waist level. It has been such a good idea that I think I might buy her another one.

Also, I wanted to mention that I've considered using some of the shelves in my linen closet to store canned goods. I cant bend down low to get the ones I want any more. Maybe this is an idea you can adapt or use..
Best of luck.

July 11, 20060 found this helpful



Silver Post Medal for All Time! 364 Posts
July 11, 20060 found this helpful

Make sure your larger cooking pans have helper handles (handles on both sides) so you can get a more solid grip.

Also, how are you about reaching? A pot and pan holder suspended from the ceiling might help.

By (Guest Post)
July 11, 20060 found this helpful

I have arthritis in my neck and shoulders and have been operated on three times. I purchased an inexpensive white wide storage cabinet. and put my dishes, pans etc where it was easy for me to reach. I gave away my heavy stuff and use only light weight items. If you are alone, just use the same ones over and over and keeping them where it's convenient for you. To do dishes, I put a tall wide bottomed pan upside down in the sink and place the dish pan on that so no bending into the sink. I leave my most frequently used pots or pans on the stove all the time. I purchased from Pampered Chef two round utinsel holders, one for plastic and one for others and leave them on the counter. I also purchased a wire divider and keep my silverware in it on the counter top. Another one holds paper plates, plastic utensils etc. When I need a full pot of water, I use pitchers to fill it up. And to empty it afterwards. I purchased a spaghetti cooking pan so I don't have to carry it to the sink to get the pasta out or else I use a wire strainer of appropriate size to scoop out the pasta. I always use reachers.. having several around the house as I find it annoying to have to look for one. In my higher kitchen cabinets, I use the reachers to put away light items and use the bottom shelf for heavier things. I keep all my spices and small things like that in a light-weight rubber coated wire rack with three shelves in it on my kitchen wall at waist level. I also purchased at a tag sale (where I got a lot of the items mentioned) a plastic coated wire light-weight unit to keep other kitchen pantry items on and are easy to reach. In my fridge I have two large white plastic lazy susan type round things which turn at the touch of a finger and make me reach much less. I also had to purchase a refrigerator with a freezer on the bottom as my neck couldn't take the bending into the fridge. Hope you can use some of these ideas. And I empathize with how tough Mr. Arthur Itis makes our lives, but we can simplify it quite a bit by making adjustments. I'm an optomist and see opportunities in every challenge. Make sure you keep as limber as you can for as long as you can. Do gentle exercises recommended by professionals and even use pools for exercising.

By KLS8800 (Guest Post)
July 11, 20060 found this helpful

What about a rolling cart. Make sure it has a wheel lock you can press with your foot. But maybe that can help?

July 13, 20060 found this helpful

I have given away all of my cast iron pots and pans; well seasoned and a trademark of my cookery, they were greeted with joy. In their place, I've hung lightweight and inexpensive sautee and frying pans and saucepans against the wall of my kitchen in a pleasing and easy to reach pattern. One burner of my stove, (which is next to my sink) holds a nested arrangement of large pots. When one is needed, I use the burner in front of the nest and fill it by using the spray hose from the sink. To empty the pot, I use a smaller pot or four cup measure to dip out the liquid until it is nearly empty and easy to lift. I have a counter built at the correct height for me ( I am very tall) to avoid stooping and tiring. My cups are hung from hooks and dishes stored above the sink. My foodstuffs in cans are also in the dish cabinets, making retrieving a large can from the bottom shelf much easier than stooping and rising with it. I rely more on using some prepared foods (jams, syrups, biscuit mixes) than I once did. My heavy items (blender, coffee maker, kniferack, are permanently on a counter, although they occupy a lot of space in my small kitchen. (Hence the building of another, higher counter) A footpedalled trashcan is helpful. An electric can opener is a must. Some type of lid-gripper is useful. Frozen, fresh, and boxed foods are more frequent in my kitchen than canned goods. A good friend shops for me bi-weekly. In return, I make large pots of soups for her family, and cut coupons for her shopping.

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April 25, 2019

I have osteoarthritis in my right ankle and was wondering if anyone can recommend the best pain medication for it. I did have the opioids based medication, but stopped taking them as they were making me ill.

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January 30, 2010

I have aches and pains here and there with arthritis. Do those Icy Hot sticky rolls work, or is there another product that is better?

By ann from Ontario

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 104 Posts
May 25, 2012

My fingertips get a tingling sensation from arthritis in two of my fingers on one hand. Others who have arthritis in their fingers tell me they have this same tingling in their fingertips. The arm on this same side continues to itch. If it continues on I will go see my doctor. But I'm wondering if any of my ThriftyFun friends have itching on their arm along with the tingling. I don't have a rash, but the itching is driving me crazy and it's only on the one arm. I have no other health issues and take no prescription drugs.

By Betty

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May 7, 2005

Tips for dealing with arthritis pain. Post your ideas.


Diamond Feedback Medal for All Time! 1,023 Feedbacks
May 7, 20050 found this helpful

It's not for breakfast anymore! Mix 2 cups of Quaker Oats and 1 cup of water in a bowl and warm in the microwave for 1 minute, cool slightly, and apply the mixture to your hands for soothing relief from arthritis pain.

By Diana

By jmouse13 (Guest Post)
May 8, 20050 found this helpful

I am a Grandmother of 74 years. I use a rub on Jel [lotion] on my hands and knees. I buy it on the internet at and I love it. It does work for the pain and discomfort. It only takes a small amount. The bottle has lasted for months and still not empty and I use it almost every day. I could not live without it. jmouse

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January 28, 2013

I am looking for remedies, for painful arthritis, in my hip.

By Sharon

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May 23, 2016

This is a page about opening jars with arthritic hands. Arthritis can make simple tasks difficult and even painful.

Opening Jars with Arthritic Hands

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