Natural Remedies for Arthritis
Arthritis is an all-too-common ailment affecting people of all ages, races, genders and medical backgrounds. In this article, we will uncover the basics of just what arthritis is and why it occurs. We’ll also cover the types of arthritis, the various symptoms that come with each and natural remedies that can help mitigate symptoms and improve quality of life, even for those not on prescription arthritis medications.
Like many diseases, a range of treatment options exists for managing and treating arthritis conditions. Don’t hesitate to seek out expert advice from a medical professional to help devise a plan that is right for you. While you can take prescription drugs, there are many natural remedies for arthritis that can also provide relief.
1. Manage Your Weight
Arthritis is a condition of inflammation, pressure and pain in the joints. Therefore, managing your weight can help to improve pain levels from arthritis naturally. However, losing weight is not a cure-all. Under the guidance of a trusted medical professional, you will need to do so using sustainable, gradual approaches that allow you to keep it off healthily. Many do experience less pain once they have lost weight. Plus, there is also a feeling of less burden on your joints and bones, specifically your hips, knees and feet.
This traditional Chinese medicine treatment involves inserting thin needles into strategic points of the body to correct and reroute the energy flow. It’s used to treat a variety of ailments. Acupuncture has a long history of successfully treating and improving pain in those with arthritis.
There isn’t much hard science at this point to back up the anecdotal claims. However, some studies show that acupuncture can help lessen inflammatory chemicals throughout the body, so it makes sense that it can improve overall arthritis pain. If you find a qualified practitioner, ideally one experienced specifically in treating arthritis patients, there is essentially no downside to giving this natural remedy a try.
3. Meditation and Visualization
Don’t underestimate or discount the power of the mind. The link between the physical body and the brain is a grey area that science is only just starting to understand. Acts like meditation can go a long way in pain management. Practices like deep breathing, guided meditation and yoga can help mitigate stress, which can ease the body and help you cope and relax.
4. Move Your Body
If your body is sore and painful, a workout might be the last thing you want to do, but moving your body is an excellent natural remedy for improving arthritis. There’s no need to sling weights around or go hard at the gym. Try lower-impact styles of movement such as yoga, tai chi or swimming. Try working your way up to several sessions per week, as consistency and regularity is key with exercise.
Staying active can feel good and can go a long way in lessening pain and stiffness and preventing worsening symptoms in the future.
5. Eat a Plant-Rich Diet
You may not think that what you put on your plate has anything to do with your arthritis, but watching what you eat can absolutely be a natural remedy. Specifically, studies point to eating a diet high in plant-based foods and low in animal products. This is because animal foods, such as meat and dairy, which make up much of a traditional Western diet, are inflammatory and can contribute to pain. They’ve also been linked to higher rates of diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and more.
You don’t have to go vegan, but going in a more plant-based direction can undoubtedly help. Adding in supplements, like vitamin D and omega-3, can also be helpful.
6. Hot and Cold Therapy
A quick, painless and cheap natural remedy for treating arthritis is using hot and cold therapy, one at a time or alternating. A heating pad or even a rice-filled sock monkey can ease stiffness and soothe joints, while an ice pack can lessen inflammation.
With both heat and cold, go easy and take breaks — more is not more. Don’t stay in a hot tub for too long, and never keep ice packs directly on the skin.
Common Types of Arthritis and Symptoms
The primary two categories of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is caused by a wearing down of the cartilage, which causes bones to rub together. Over time, this friction produces pain and inflammation.
In cases of rheumatoid arthritis, this is an autoimmune condition that is the culprit behind pain and inflammation. The body’s immune system, designed to fight outside invaders and keep the body healthy, misidentifies healthy joint tissue as the enemy and attacks itself.
Symptoms for arthritis, in general, can include:
- Stiffness of the joints.
- Pain in various parts of the body.
- Decreased range of motion.
As with any treatment option for a medical condition, it is wise to do your own research and talk to a trusted doctor before making any changes to your arthritis treatment plan or adding any of these approaches into your lifestyle. These natural remedies, either on their own or combined with prescription medications, can play a huge role in helping arthritis patients manage symptoms and live as healthily with as little pain as possible.