Since I've yet to experience any relief from my RA, I must rely on pain meds and pain relief devices to get me through the day. While no drug, device, or product has helped much with my pain, I wanted to share with folks some of the things that at least offer some relief, even if subtle. If you'd like links to specific products, message me privately.
1) Percussion handheld vibrating massager: These work some by easing muscle and joint pain. Unlike normal vibrating massagers, the up and down movement of the percussion massagers act like a mini jackhammer on your muscles. The one I used was my mothers. It cost $130 on Amazon, but there are less expensive options for 1/3 tha price. Most come with a softer rubber head that works good on the bony parts, jaw and joints... and a harder head for muscles and trigger points.
2) Tens Unit on Amazon. I've tried the tens units sold in the medicine isles at Target and Walmart. They are low power and offer minimal relief. And then you have the very expensive tens units that chiropractic offices sell. I found a $30 tens unit on Amazon a few years ago, and it's amazingly effective. So much so, that I've purchased many as gifts for family and friends. Message me and I'll provide the specific model.
3) Home made heat pads. Go to the feed store or tractor supply store and purchase a bag of feed corn. Go to Walmart or Michaels and buy a few yards of cheap muslin fabric. Go home and sew up a few bags of varying sizes. Leave one end open for filling with corn. Sew up the end, and microwave for 3 minutes. This will kill any bugs that may be in the corn. My wife and I love these because they stay warmer longer than rice or any other filler we've seen in other heat pad products. The great thing about making your own is that you can make long pads for throwing over your neck, or large flat pads for laying on before you go to bed. You can even sew up a pattern that mimics the "Huggarroo" which is sold on Amazon. The problem with the Huggarro is that it doesn't stay warm very long at all.
4) 2 tennis balls inside a sock. Take two tennis balls and put them in a sock and tie the end. Roll around on this to loosen up tight muscles and joints. You can slide the balls to varying distances from each other which allows for targeting different muscles. For example, keep the balls close together for spine or neck massage... or farther apart for your legs.
5) Trigger Point Massager: ... a plastic device that has a bunch of knobs on it. This allows you to target trigger points in your back or hard to reach places. There are many of these devices under different names on Amazon.
6) Straps or bungie straps in an archway or doorway of your home. I found a 3 tiered strap system with handles at varying heights. These work great for stretching into different muscle groups, or working out using your own body weight. A cheap and versatile way to work out and loosen tight muscles.
7) Large foam roller: These are great for loosening tight IT bands and back muscles.
8) Compression socks: These don't really help with pain, but I have found them to help reduce some of my ankle and leg swelling. The also seem to offer a bit of comfort somehow. They are pretty cheap too, which is nice.
9) Kratom: an ancient herb from the coffee family. Illegal in some states because the drug companies don't like competition. Kratom can offer pain relief like an opiate. You just need to be safe and smart. I spend dozens of hours learning how to take it safely. It's a very bitter and nasty tasting substance, but good kratom offers quite a bit of pain relief and help with anxiety. It bothered my stomach so I had to stop, though my friend and aunt take it with no problems. A tea can minimize the pain. I can answer any questions you may have.
Some items I've tried that were a waste of money:
Quell pain relief device. I found this to be nothing more than an overpriced wearable tens unit. The company claims that it helps 83% of those who try it, so I am apparently in the 17% of folks that it doesn't. I found them to be untrustworthy in their claims of calling there technology special, when it's quite apparent they are using nothing more than a tens unit. They also charge way too much for their replacement pads which don't last 1/3 of the time they claim.
Penetrex: This cream is sold on Amazon. Like every other pain relief cream I've purchased, I found this to be a complete waste of money as it didn't help one bit at reducing my pain. Then again, I may be immune to these sort of things, since even Biofreeze and the other menthol based products don't seem to work... though it's strange because 1 out of 10 times I can feel the chill effect of Biofreeze. It must have something to do with how open your pores are or something.
If anyone can offer any other suggestions for pain relief devices, creams, procedures or products that have helped you with your pain, please do share. Thanks.