How to kill arthritis pain without “painkillers”?

Yep, I’m getting old :unamused:. Orthopedist says the pain in my left middle finger is in fact not from overuse of just that digit (drivers listening?!), but arthritis. Problem is everyone says take NSAIDS and I don’t want to do that regularly. Anyone have alternative approaches that have worked? Any painkiller creams maybe that target the spot well but don’t have same impact on gut, liver, etc.?

It’s very interesting, and a little odd, having symptoms in just your middle finger. Usually folks notice pain with OA diagnosis of their thumbs or index finger more. Disclaimer, I’m a PT, but maybe look into seeing a certified hand therapist (either physical therapist or occupational therapist). Other than that, arthritic joints, especially small ones, tend to respond well to heat.

I wouldn’t take advice from anyone that says to regularly take NSAIDs. Perhaps re-evaluate your diet first to see if there’s some inflammatory foods to eliminate and add some others to help reduce it.

Article to check out


Turmeric with black pepper capsules are really helping my mum with an osteoarthritic knee, not an instant painkiller type effect but she felt a real difference after a couple of weeks taking them and has been taking them for a few months now. Turmeric is a natural anti inflammatory and the black pepper increases the bio-availability, apparently.


All the side effects of NSAIDs (aside from digestive) also happen when they applied as creams too.

The scary side effects to me are the heart related ones. Keep away from diclofenac (Voltarol). The heart attack & stroke stats on that are worrying, but ibuprofen and naproxen also increase your risk too.

Source: Married a pharmacist.

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I’d suggest a low-carb diet. They’re demonstrated to be very anti-inflammatory, although not much followup on arthritis yet. Anecdotally people are getting good results. Food for thought.

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So @runriderandi, @gcarver, @trippi I’m wondering if my pain were caused by diet / inflammatory foods wouldn’t it likely manifest beyond just one finger? Think you may have right idea @runriderandi with seeking a specialist consult. Orthopedist seemed pretty confident (just from basic exam and x-ray) that there’s no injury to blame.

Seems like there are folks taking CBD and pleased with the results.

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Very little in medicine and healthcare is that simple. Besides, I’d rather not assign causality. Rather I’m suggesting now that you have the issue I suspect you’ll find relief on a diet that naturally promotes low inflammation. There are certainly less radical changes, eg the CBD oil suggestion isn’t a bad one, but the point really is you’ll have to find something that works for you. These kind of nagging ‘aging’ diseases are not generally cured so much as managed in the healthcare system, and you’ve seen the 1st line advice already.

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My wife has severe symptoms at times of rheumatoid arthritis. She has found that if she stays away from carbs and gluten she’s pretty much pain free. If she has a lot of carbs one day then that night and the next few days she has severe trouble with her hands. If she goes cold Turkey on carbs wheat and sugars it takes about 2 or so days to clear up.


Ack. You guys are scaring me. I know people do it, but I’m not really keen on trying to be a low/no-carb endurance athlete. Thinking I may experiment first by just cutting out gluten for a while.

You could try it out for a week or two. Go cold Turkey and see if your pain changes. One or two weeks should not hurt you that much and I would guess that’s long enough to clean your system. My wife’s pain starts going away after 2 days

That is a good place to start. If it doesn’t work my wife recently got into Doterra. I was initially skeptical but was very surprised at how well it works. I can share recipes if you become interested. The Copaiba oils really do work…

Fish oil is worth a try:

CONCLUSIONS: Our results mirror other controlled studies that compared ibuprofen and omega-3 EFAs demonstrating equivalent effect in reducing arthritic pain.

Also CBD oil for something maybe a little more potent, although research is not well developed yet as this is a more recent treatment, at least in the US

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I have been battling the Arthritis demon since age 18. A typical day starts with claw hands that have to be “broken free to get them moving normally.” The best single non medication solution has been the elimination of Junk Carbs from my diet. Pasta, Bread, Potatoes all gone and that does the best. Get your carbs from the highest qualities Greens etc. Look at the guide lines for diabetic and keto diets. Not for the diets themselves but for the list of carbs they recommend, those are the ones that can fuel your rides and cut your inflammation. It’s not fun to change diets but as the Arthritis progresses so will your motivation to try it.


Technically it’s not low carb that matters, it’s the quality of the carbs. The inflammatory ones are the junk ones; yes those are the tasty ones of childhood but it’s not that hard to phase them out if you take a moderated approach.


Thanks @ratz! That’s a helpful and important clarification.

We have not gone grocery shopping for a bit and the cupboards are a little bare. My daughter brought back a lot of her food from college and had a box of stone wheat thins. So i had tomato soup with stone wheat thins last night. About an hour later my arms started to hurt. This morning I am sore all over lying in bed. I used to eat processed carbs by the truckload and never felt like this. It really shows what our bodies can adapt to. If I continued to eat them my body would adjust and i would be fine except for some intermittent arm pain probably. But then i know better, I could have eaten better last night but I was lazy and just felt like soup and I used to(still do) love crackers in my soup. Almost more crackers than soup lol. But the way I feel right now is not worth it. Going to skip training today and let my body recover and let this get out of my system. I’ll do some c foam rolling and stretching and hopefully be back at it tomorrow.

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I had a long response here but I deleted it. I realize that there is no point when the only trained professional that can help him is a PT.


My response is based on the known side effects of taking NSAIDs on a regular basis. There’s plenty of professional studies, papers, speeches, etc. out there on NSAIDs to look into. Regardless of budget, we all gotta eat to live hence the suggestion to re-evaluate diet. If someone can afford to see a bunch of medical specialists then explore what you can afford.