Arthritis is a group of painful and degenerative conditions marked by inflammation in the joints that causes stiffness and pain. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, gets worse with age and is caused by wear and tear over the years. Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the immune system attacking the joints as if they were foreign tissues. Because of this, rheumatoid arthritis is classified as an autoimmune disease.
Doctors traditionally treat arthritis with anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers. However, some medications cause side effects, and a natural approach to pain relief is becoming more popular. Remember to consult your doctor before trying these natural remedies. For arthritis relief you can:
Outfit your home with tools to take the pressure off your joints.
Use grip bars in your shower, easy grip jar and bottle openers, etc.
Get plenty of sleep.
Sleep 8-10 hours a night for your body to rest, heal and provide energy to reduce fatigue that sometimes comes with arthritis.
Eat foods high in vitamins and minerals. This can help you lose or maintain weight, which will take pressure off your joints.
Ask your doctor if there are any supplements or vitamins you could take to help with arthritis pain. Everyone needs omega-3 fatty acids in their diet for optimum health. These fats also help your arthritis.
Fish oil supplements, which are high in omega-3s, have been shown to reduce joint stiffness and pain. Another fatty acid that can help is gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA. It’s found in the seeds of certain plants such as evening primrose, borage, hemp, and black currants. You can also buy the oils of the seeds as a supplement. However, be sure to check with your doctor before taking them.
Stay active. The flow of nutrients and oxygen to the joints is reduced with immobility. Regular movement helps to maintain flexibility in your joints.
Weight-bearing exercises such as running and walking can be damaging. Instead, try low-impact exercises such as water aerobics or swimming to flex your joints without adding further stress.
Lose weight. Your weight can make a big impact on the amount of pain you experience from arthritis. Extra weight puts more pressure on your joints — especially your knees, hips, and feet.
Reducing the stress on your joints by losing weight will improve your mobility, decrease pain, and prevent future damage to your joints.
Use hot and cold therapy. Simple hot and cold treatments can make a world of difference when it comes to arthritis pain.
Long, warm showers or baths — especially in the morning — help ease stiffness in your joints. Use an electric blanket or moist heating pad at night to keep your joints loose.
Cold treatments are best for relieving joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. Wrap a gel ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and apply it to painful joints for quick relief.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical treatment that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on your body. Acupuncture is the most researched complementary therapy and is recommended by the World Health Organization for treatment of over 100 different conditions.
It is thought that acupuncture has the ability to reduce arthritis pain. This is supposed to reroute energies and restore balance in your body. If you want to explore this treatment method, be sure to find a licensed and certified acupuncturist in your state and speak with your doctor before proceeding.
Get a massage.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, regular massaging of arthritic joints can help reduce pain and stiffness and improve your range of motion. Work with a physical therapist to learn self-massage, or schedule appointments with a massage therapist regularly. Your massage therapist should be experienced with working on people who have arthritis. Check with your doctor for a recommendation.