Natural Remedies for Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is a leading cause of pain and disability worldwide. This painful and degenerative condition is marked by inflammation of joints, causing stiffness and pain. The most common form of the disease, Osteoarthritis, is caused by normal wear and tear and gets worse over the years.
The traditional medical treatments for arthritis involve anti-inflammatory medications and pain relievers. However, there are a number of natural treatments you can try with much less risk of side effects. As with any treatment, it is recommended to consult your doctor before trying any of these remedies.
Regular movement helps improve and maintain flexibility in the joints. Low-impact exercises like swimming or water aerobics are very beneficial for arthritis relief, but increasing your movement can be much simpler. Doctors suggest that gentle exercises in the evening when you’re sitting still can help with stiffness in the morning. These exercises can be as simple as adjusting your position frequently, or periodically tilting your head from side-to-side. If you are relaxing in front of the television or with a book, try changing the position of your hands regularly or standing and walking around every 30 minutes or so.
Weight is a major factor in the amount of pain you experience from arthritis. Extra weight puts more pressure on your joints, especially hips, knees, and feet. Reducing the stress on your body by losing weight will improve mobility, decrease pain, and prevent further damage to joints. Losing weight is most effectively accomplished through a combination of increased movement and dietary choices.
Hot and Cold Therapy:
Simple applications of hot and cold treatments can make a huge impact on arthritis pain. For quick relief of joint pain, wrap a flexible ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables in a damp towel around the affected areas. On the other hand, long warm showers or baths, especially in the morning, can help ease overall stiffness of joints. Use of an electric blanket or heating pad at night can also keep joints looser.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical treatment that uses thin needles applied to specific pressure points around your body. The benefit of this therapy can be blocking pain and re-routing energy to restore balance in the body. If you wish to try acupuncture for relief of arthritis pain, it is recommended to find an experienced acupuncturist with good references.
Regular massaging of arthritic joints can help increase circulation and range of motion while relieving pain and stiffness, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Physical therapists can teach self-massage techniques, or you can choose to work with a massage therapist regularly. It is important, however, to find a therapist who is experienced with arthritic patients. Many doctors can give you a referral to such a therapist.
Studies have shown that practicing meditation and relaxation techniques may help reduce pain from arthritis by reducing stress and enabling you to cope better. Research also found that those with depression and arthritis got the most benefit from this form of treatment.
Incorporating the right fatty acids into your diet can be beneficial to arthritis symptoms. While everyone needs omega-3 fatty acids for optimum health, it’s been shown some, like fish oil supplements, may help reduce joint stiffness and pain. Another fatty acid that can help is gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA. GLA comes from the seeds of certain plants like evening primrose, borage, hemp, and black currants. You can also buy the oils of the seeds as a supplement, but it’s recommended you check with your doctor before taking them.
Flavorful and easy to incorporate into many dishes, turmeric is a yellow spice common in Indian foods. Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin that is believed to be a powerful anti-inflammatory that can help reduce arthritis pain. A report from the National Institute of Health shows that lab animals showed reduced inflammation in joints after being given turmeric… Between that and being tasty it’s certainly worth a try!
There are a great many herbal supplements available which are believed to or at least claim to relieve joint pain. Some of the more common herbs used for arthritis are boswellia, bromelain, devil’s claw, ginkgo, stinging nettle, and thunder god vine. To avoid potential side effects or drug interactions, speak to your doctor before starting a new herbal regimen.