TOP 11 Arthritis MUST HAVES if you are looking for pain relief

arthritis must haves

Gathered from those dealing with arthritis pain, here is a list of the arthritis must haves that you need if you are looking for joint pain relief. What if you could build a toolbox to help you confidently navigate your arthritis pain? What if you had options during your flare ups and when stiffness becomes relentless? This list is made for you. Check out these top 15 arthritis must haves and start building your toolbox! 

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Build your toolbox, build your confidence.

The more options you have, the more confiendent you will feel about your pain relief.

I met Debbie* a while back and she was dealing with unrelenting knee and hip pain. The worst was when she experienced flare-ups. She felt hopeless every time she went through one because her pain just wouldn’t go away.

When we met, she was desperate for answers and desperate to get out of pain without having surgery. I asked her what her plan was each time she had a flare up. She said “try to get through the day”. 

When we met, she was desperate for answers and desperate to get out of pain without having surgery. I asked her what her plan was each time she had a flare up. She said “try to get through the day”. 

What she didn’t realize is that she had options. She had tried searching online but was so overwhelmed. There were so many different products, supplements, medications, etc. She didn’t even know where to start. She tried a few things but nothing worked for her. She was continually disappointed because these products would work maybe for a week, then her pain would come back. 

She sought us out for help and for guidance. She just wanted someone to tell her a way that works. She wanted to stop failing with pain relief. She wanted something that worked.

Now, she has a cheat sheet. Now, she knows exactly what to do for pain relief. When she has a flare up, she knows how to break free from the pain confidently. She knows what works. 

What if you could experience the same results? What if you had your own cheat sheet? We will tell you that no one has the same cheat sheet. 

In this post we want to help you start building your own cheat sheet by giving you the top 10 arthritis must haves that have worked for our clients previously and could work for you too! 

TOP 11 Arthritis Must Haves List

Arthritis Must-Haves #1: 

Voltaren: This topical cream can bring you pain relief by rubbing it on each of the affected areas. Our arthritis adventurers have told us that it has brought temporary pain relief to knees, hands, and lower backs. 

It works best if you are planning on walking longer distances or being on your feet for longer periods of time. It can help you get through the activity without being distracted by pain.

It can also help with recovery after a day of overactivity or even during a flare up. You rub the lotion on the affected area and experience pain relief through a cooling sensation, similar to a Biofreeze or other topical ointment like 4jointz (you can see my video review here). 

We like this product because it’s a topical medication and has very limited side effects. The most adverse being a skin reaction or rash. 

It is great to have this cream in your pain relief tool box because if you are in a pinch and need some quick relief, this can help. The one thing it likely won’t help with is stiffness. If joint stiffness is your biggest problem keep scrolling! 

Arthritis Must-Haves #2: 

Resistance loops: If you know us, you know that we put a high value on movement and strengthening in order to find arthritis relief. If you can show your body it can move confidently and pain free, you have opened the door to living successfully with arthritis. 

These resistance loops are very inexpensive and are versatile. There are many beneficial exercises you can do with these no matter the type of arthritis. Whether you are having shoulder pain, low back pain, hip pain, knee pain, or ankle pain these loops can bring you pain relief with a consistent exercise routine. 

Keep in mind, you likely will not get immediate relief but you will get lasting relief. Allowing yourself 10-15 minutes per day to show your body how it is supposed to be moving can be a game changer for your pain. You can have this arthritis must have for less that $20! 

Here are some introductory videos if you are thinking “Okay, these bands are great but what the heck do I do with them?!” We got you covered. 

Arthritis Must Haves #3:

Compression can make painful joints feel good, like really good. Think about how you feel when you get a hug (from someone you want to be hugging you). You feel good! 

Think of compression as giving your joint a hug. It just so happens that the sensors in your body that sense pain are the same ones that sense compression. By giving our joints compression, we dull some or most of the pain. 

There are a variety of different types depending on where your pain primarily resides. There are compression socks, compression knee sleeves, compression hip sleeves, compression gloves and compression back braces. 

We usually recommend getting a compression sleeve or brace without any hard pieces in it. Especially for the knee, there are braces that contain hard plastic pieces. These tend to alter movement and may not be the right movements for you and your pain. The only caveat to this is if you were prescribed one of these braces or if you have tried compression sleeves before with no luck for pain relief. 

These are relatively inexpensive and might be worth splurging an extra $20-30 to get a quality product. There are lots of cheaper options that may not provide enough support. 

These are great in 3 scenarios. 

One, if you are planning lots of activity- walking, running, weight lifting, etc these can feel really nice and prevent swelling along with pain. 

Two, when it’s cold out, they can help keep joints warm which can make a drastic difference to pain. This can also help in the morning, for example when your hand feel very stiff or cold in the winter months.

Three, they can help manage stiffness and swelling because the compression sleeve will only allow a certain amount of fluid to collect (this is why many wear those tall compression stockings after surgery or when on their feet for a long time to prevent gravity from pulling too much fluid down to the ankles). 

For less than $50, they are absolutely worth a try and are at the top of our arthritis must haves list.

Arthritis must-haves #4: 

Appropriate footwear: Shoes can play a huge part in how your joint feels the stress from walking, running, exercising, etc. Without the right support or in absence of support with older, worn out shoes- your joints are likely taking more force than they should. Over time, this can contribute to increased pain. 

We met a brand recently that we fell in love with. Dr. Alyssa Kuhn wears their shoes almost every day. One of our clients is also a proud supporter of the local Salt Lake City brand, Kuru Footwear. These shoes were designed to give you the right amount of arch support and even help with plantar fasciitis prevention which can be common with knee or foot arthritis. 

“I used to deal with bouts of plantar fasciitis every couple of years but since I began wearing these shoes, I haven’t dealt with any pain. This is even when I have tried lots of new exercises and almost doubled the time I have been exercising. I am so thankful.” 

These shoes come in a variety of styles and are available for both men and women. 

If you are struggling with finding the right shoe for you or if you have had your current shoes for longer than 1 year (depending on how many steps you put on them), we stand behind this brand. Finding a good pair of shoes can truly be a game changer to your pain levels, especially when you feel like you have tried everything else. 


Arthritis must haves #5:

Kettlebell: If you have arthritis it is crucial that you have options for exercise. If you have been following us, you likely know just how important exercise is. If you are new to us, read this blog post about WHY exercise is beneficial. 

Instead of having a ton of different sets of dumbbells, instead 1 or 2 kettlebells can be extremely effective. Kettlebells are versatile and offer lots of options for training no matter your fitness level or your pain severity. 

These allow you to add external weight once you have mastered bodyweight movements to take your strengthening to the next level. This is more than just how much weight you can lift though. 

If you can start adding external weight to these movements without pain, you can do so much more. For example, completing weighted squats can translate to climbing stairs without pain, picking a laundry basket up from the floor, and squatting down to play with your grandchildren with the ability to get back up! 

Kettlebells can give us confidence. Take it from one of our hardest working clients. He went from the inability to do a squat without significant knee and back pain to doing one with a 25# kettlebell 30 times without pain! Now he climbs stairs without pain and can actually enjoy hiking with his family- up and down the inclines. 

If you are looking for ideas on where to start with a kettlebell, we have a great introductory video. If you are familiar and are looking for some new exercises, we have the perfect 3 part series for you!  


Arthritis must haves #6:

Red light therapy: According to our private Facebook community, red light therapy may be the missing link to your pain relief. It is starting to gain traction in the arthritis world. You essentially use a special red light on your painful joints for 10-15 minutes at a time for a few times per day.

Take it from an arthritis sufferer herself:

It is important to understand that this light alone may not bring you pain relief. As she describes above, she used it in supplement to physical therapy for the best results. It’s one of those things that can bring serious relief to some and may not be as effective for others.

“When infrared heat hits the targeted area, the warmth opens up the capillaries, improves the circulation, which It’s effective for temporary relief of minor muscle and joint pain.”

Here is the one that she recommends!

Vanessa, an arthritis sufferer said, “I had problem with my knee swelling and “slipping” because of a muscular imbalance from a foot surgery and the tendlite offered immediate pain relief. I don’t use my light any more because physical therapy helped immensely with pain relief. But if I ever have pain,I use the light and it works. My physical therapist says it has different results for various people but for me it worked.

When I was in extreme pain, I followed the guidelines and did it 2 times a day 3 times per part- it’s a small light and to do one knee it was 2 cycles on top, above and below patella, both sides of patella, and the back of knee. After one day I felt great and I kept doing the treatment for a few weeks. I was also in PT so as I grew stronger, the pain lessened. I don’t use it as often but sometimes my knees get aggravated if I stand and walk around all day. I do it after and in conjunction with rest it works.”

Arthritis must haves #7:

Tumeric supplements have benefits for osteoarthritis pain by tackling and preventing inflammation. Many people have been able to find joint pain relief using this supplement, but again keep in mind that everyone is different. It is another option to have in your tool box, especially if it brings great results for you. 

According to, “In 2016, an industry-sponsored systematic review of randomized controlled trials found that 1,000 mg a day of curcumin reduced OA [Osteoarthritis] pain and inflammation as well as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like diclofenac and ibuprofen. Another 2016 study suggests curcumin might help prevent bone breakdown in people with RA [Rheumatoid Arthritis].”

It’s important to talk to your physician before beginning Tumeric or another supplement, especially if you are taking blood thinners.

Arthritis must haves #8:

Heating pad: Have you ever thought, “wow my heating pad is my best friend through this” or “I don’t know what I would do without my heating pad”? Maybe you don’t own a heating pad if you haven’t 🙂

I hear this from clients all the time that heat can be a life saver especially during painful flare ups. Heat is one of those things that has almost zero side effects (besides potential for burning skin if on for too long- which is why we don’t recommend sleeping with one on).

Heat can bring some serious relief. The idea is that heat helps to induce relaxation. It creates more blood flow to the painful area and reduces joint pain and stiffness. Heat is great in the morning, at night after a long day, or during periods of time you just can’t get rid of pain.

There’s not necessarily a specific time that you should use it for but it’s usually around the 20-30 minute mark. This also heavily depends on how hot it gets. If you have it on a low setting you can typically keep it on for longer.

Arthritis must haves #9:

Jar opener: this recommendation is for those who are having trouble with hand pain or stiffness. This jar opener comes recommended by one of our friends who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis.

Have you ever avoided eating something or using something because you got so frustrated with the jar?? 

Especially if you have difficulty using your hands because of pain and/or stiffness, jars can be a nightmare. This tool can make it easy to open a variety of jars and can ease frustrations! 

Arthritis must haves #10:

TENS unit: This can be especially helpful for lower back pain and degenerative disc disease. If your back regularly feels tight, a TENs unit can help to give you some relief.

You attach electrode patches to specific parts on your back that encompass the painful area. It is then usually set to a lower setting which creates small muscle contractions in the area underneath. Pain relief is created when your muscles contract and relax which helps to reduce tension.

Again, the side effects are minimal as long as you read the instructions, especially if you are doing it yourself! Check out this one here.

We recommend trying TENs units if you are have difficulty with pain control and relieving joint stiffness. If you are standing or sitting for longer periods of time because of work or some other task where getting up or changing positions is difficult, you may benefit from one of these! 

For better, longer lasting results, make sure you accompany this TENs unit with a proper exercise program. You may find yourself on a hamster wheel of temporary pain relief if not. If you would like some direction on the best way t accomplish this, let us know by scheduling a free call here.

Arthritis Must Haves #11: 

CBD Hemp Oil: CBD oil has been a new emerging way people are finding pain relief. There are many different brands and ways to apply whether its an oil, topical rub, or tablet. 

The idea is that not only can it reduce actual joint pain but it can also reduce anxiety and stress related to chronic pain. It can also help with memory and relaxation. There are many proposed benefits, but again, it does not work for everyone. 

In our opinion, after you speak with your physician, it’s worth a try to see if you are able to reap any of the benefits. Many have said it helps with pain and during/after activity to prevent pain flares. 


There are many things out there have potential to ease your pain, stress, and stiffness related to osteoarthritis. This list has been vetted by our clients and supporters to help bring you the best list of arthritis must haves. Most of these tools work best when accompanied with an appropriate exercise routine and appropriate diet. Read this blog to find out more about the direct benefits of exercise along with how to best build an arthritis-friendly home gym for less than $200

If you would like more information about the BEST anti-inflammatory foods, we have created a FREE download for you to make it easy to see which foods you should be eating! Download it below. 

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site. This article contains affiliate links that bring us a small commission without any extra cost to you.