One of the most common inflammatory diseases in the world is arthritis. Characterised by painful, aching joints, arthritis falls into two main categories: osteoarthritis (also known as degenerative joint disease) and rheumatoid arthritis.
Although any joint in the body can be affected by arthritis, particular forms of the disease tend to occur in certain parts of the body. For example, rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects the wrists and knuckles, feet, neck, and larger joints in the limbs, while degenerative joint disease may affect the thumb bases, finger joints, knees, hips, shoulders, and lower spine.
Arthritis can be caused by a combination of factors, including long-term wear and tear, infection, injury, and genetics. Poor diet, lack of exercise, and obesity can encourage arthritis flare-ups and worsen the pain.
At the moment, arthritis is treated by a combination of prescription medications and therapy. In some more serious cases, surgery might need to be considered to replace joints. Although it’s always a good idea to seek professional medical help for your arthritis, there are ways you can treat the pain and inflammation in your joints naturally. Stay tuned for some of the most effective natural remedies for arthritis today:
Most Effective Natural Remedies For Arthritis
Regular massage for your muscles and joints, whether by a licensed therapist through self-massage at home, can help to significantly reduce pain for people with arthritis. One recent study on adults with knee osteoarthritis found that after receiving two Swedish massages per week for eight weeks, the group reported significant improvements in knee pain, stiffness, function, range of motion, and walking, compared to a group that received no massage.
Massage can benefit arthritis symptoms all over the body, including hand or wrist arthritis. One study on adults who were diagnosed with hand and wrist arthritis found that when participants were given four weekly massages and taught to massage their sore joints daily at home, just fifteen minutes of self-massage reduced pain and anxiety, as well as improving grip strength and flexibility. You can give self-massage a go yourself by following tutorial videos focused on treating the area of inflammation.
Aromatherapy is only now being recognised for its effectiveness in reducing pain and improving all aspects of physical and mental health. The reason why aromatherapy is so beneficial is because it works directly on the amygdala, the brain’s emotional centre, preventing the thinking part of the brain from inhibiting the effects of an aromatherapy scent. Many people use aromatherapy for relaxation and stress relief, but it’s also proved popular in helping to relieve muscle pain and regenerate the body.
It’s advised that if you want to give aromatherapy a go yourself, you use around 15 drops of n essential oil, such as lavender, chamomile, or eucalyptus, and mix with two tablespoons of neutral oil, like almond, avocado, or jojoba. Dab the oil combination directly on your skin and you’ll get a kick of scented relief right when you need it.
Keep in mind that short-term exposure to aromatherapy oils is key because you may stop responding to scents after a few minutes.
3. Indian frankincense
Fancy trying something a little more exotic for treating your arthritis? Say hello to Indian frankincense. Boswellic acids, the active components found in Indian frankincense, have been found in studies to possess impressive anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
Experts also say that this exotic herb may be handy in preventing cartilage loss and inhibiting the autoimmune process. One study used Indian frankincense extract on participants with osteoarthritis and found that the herb improved pain and function within seven days. The easiest way to obtain Indian frankincense, otherwise known as Boswellia, is in supplement form – you’ll be able to find it online and in your local health store.
4. Weight loss
Losing weight is an obvious natural remedy for a number of common health ailments, but for people with arthritis, it can be difficult to accomplish because any simple movement can be painful. It’s a bit of a nasty cycle – the extra weight may cause you to experience more pain with movement, but fighting through the pain and losing the weight will help take the pressure off your joints and ease symptoms, including knee pain.
Losing weight comes down to a combination of exercise and a good diet, both of which can improve your symptoms of arthritis by decreasing inflammation. Look to limit your intake of salts, fats, and other processed high-calorie food, and try to increase your average level of physical activity on a daily basis.
5. Fatty fish
There are so many benefits to fatty fish, from improving heart health and cognitive function to treating the pain associated with arthritis. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to directly help reduce inflammation caused by arthritis. Research has uncovered strong evidence to show that the omega-3s EPA and DHA can help improve endothelial function, preventing swelling of the joints.
It’s thought that fatty fish in itself can provide arthritis relief without the side effects of conventional arthritis drugs. The fish with the greatest omega-3 properties include mackerel, salmon, seabass, oysters, sardines, shrimp, and trout.
Always grill or bake your fish and avoid frying it in unhealthy fats. Alternatively, if fish isn’t your thing, you can take fish oil supplements to achieve your omega-3 fix.
6. Chiropractic treatment
Chiropractic treatment involves the physical adjustment and alignment of joints, which sounds a little bit terrifying, but is actually far more therapeutic than it seems. The bones and joints can benefit from specific chiropractic corrections aimed at reducing pain and stiffness. A chiropractor may also incorporate massage into a treatment session to further reduce stiffness, helping to improve movement and flexibility.
For people with arthritis that causes lower back pain, chiropractic manipulation can break up the muscle spasm and scar tissue, helping to ease the pain. It’s worth looking into chiropractic treatment as an alternative therapy that can help you to manage your symptoms and provide relief right when you need it.
While exercise probably isn’t at the top of your list of enjoyable activities when you’re suffering from an arthritis flare-up, ironically, it’s one of the best ways to alleviate inflammation. In fact, exercise is considered essential for long-term arthritis management, by promoting the maintenance of healthy, strong muscles, flexibility, endurance, and joint mobility. It’s important to find a good balance between resting and exercise, as rest allows joints to heal and inflammation to reduce.
Try to rest more when your arthritis is flaring up and exercise more during the times when symptoms decrease. On the days when your symptoms are the worst, it’s best to stick to gentle exercise. Speak to your GP if you’re not sure what sort of exercise is best for your condition.
8. Vitamin C and flavonoids
Vitamin C and flavonoids, found in a number of healthy plant-based foods, have proven effective in a number of studies at preventing cells from oxidative damage and excessive inflammation. Make sure to consume a diet that meets your recommended daily allowance for both vitamin C and flavonoids, by adding powerful antioxidant fruits or vegetables to your diet to ease pain and swelling.
Some of the best sources of vitamin C and flavonoids include apples, apricots, pears, raspberries, strawberries, black beans, cabbage, onions, parsley, beans, and tomatoes. If you’re worried your diet is lacking in vitamin C, you can also take supplements in tablet form.
9. Capsaicin cream
Capsaicin cream might sound a little unusual, but it’s incredibly beneficial for relieving arthritis pain. The capsaicin comes from chili peppers and inhibits a neuropeptide called substance P, which is associated with inflammatory processes. Capsaicin cream works to reduce arthritis pain by decreasing inflammation and soothing pain.
Scientists are still unsure about exactly how capsaicin cream works, but many believe that the cream relieves pain by depleting the nerve endings of certain pain-impulse-transmitting chemicals. You can purchase capsaicin cream without a prescription from most health stores and apply it topically to your skin as and when necessary. You can purchase it here
- Two 3.5 oz/100 g tubes of Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel for Topical Arthritis Pain Relief
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- Naturally potent ingredients: this turmeric curcumin supplement’s potency is enhanced with patented bioperine (10mg per serving), a type of black pepper extract shown to increase absorption and bioavailability in turmeric supplements
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Used in Asian medicine for centuries, ginger has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen. Ginger also suppresses certain anti-inflammatory molecules called leukotrienes, and can even switch off certain inflammatory genes. Some experts believe that ginger is more effective than conventional over-the-counter pain relievers.
It’s easy to add ginger to your diet to improve your arthritis symptoms. If you cook a lot of your meals from scratch, you can add chopped or grated fresh ginger to your stir fry and curry dishes.
For a simpler option, you can use ginger powder, extract, capsules, or oils. Some people also enjoy adding raw ginger or ginger extract to a cup of hot water to make a simple but effective ginger tea.
Glucosamine is an important part of the cartilage between joint bones that has a jelly-like substance, making it one of the best natural supplements for arthritis sufferers. When the cartilage between bones wears away, the bones start rubbing against each other resulting in damage and pain, and this is where additional glucosamine is needed.
Glucosamine is available over the counter at many drug stores and provides natural anti-inflammatory relief. Speak to your doctor if you’re unsure how to introduce glucosamine for treating your arthritis. You can buy glucosamine here.
12. CBD oil
Every human body has something called an endocannabinoid system, which is in place to help regulate all kinds of bodily functions. One of the functions regulated by the endocannabinoid system is pain registration.
CBD products contain cannabinol, a chemical compound found in the hemp or cannabis plant that works to improve the function of the endocannabinoid system. It’s thought that taking CBD oil for arthritis can help reduce the brain’s production of pain signals and alleviate discomfort.
If you want to take CBD oil for arthritis, you can either ingest it in tablet or oil form or apply it to your skin topically.
What to avoid
Just as there are many diet and lifestyle changes you can make to improve your arthritis symptoms, there are just as many that you should avoid if you don’t want to experience a flare-up. Try not to overdo an activity that might trigger your arthritis, like typing on a keyboard or running. Cold weather can also trigger arthritis symptoms, so if you’re going outside in the winter, make sure you wrap up warm.
You should also look to avoid certain foods that might worsen your arthritis symptoms. Foods that can cause inflammation include fried and processed foods, sugars and refined carbohydrates, dairy products, alcohol and tobacco, and foods high in salt and other preservatives. You should aim to limit your consumption of these foods and replace them with healthier foods that can improve arthritis, like the ones mentioned in this video.
Managing your arthritis can sometimes feel like fighting a never-ending battle, but once you implement the appropriate diet and lifestyle changes into your routine, it will become easier to get used to in the long run.
Arthritis displays differently from one person to the next, and it might take a while before you find the remedies that work best for reducing your symptoms. But with a bit of time and patience, you should be able to naturally reduce your flare-ups and experience far less joint pain and inflammation on the whole.