Arthritis is a disease in which joints become inflamed and painful. Over 100 different subtypes are part of the arthritis umbrella, and they include the common subtypes osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Traditionally, doctors treat arthritis by using anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers. Unfortunately, these drugs can often carry significant side effects. In order to avoid these side effects, some people can choose to treat arthritis using at home remedies. These can also be helpful when used in conjunction with traditional medication. You should consult a doctor before you chose to use any at home remedies or veer away from traditional medicine.
1. Weight loss
One of the most important things you can do to help alleviate your arthritis symptoms is weight loss. Extra weight on the body adds extra stress and pressure on your joints. Therefore, if you have arthritis, carrying extra weight can compound the issue and cause extra pain and inflammation in the affected joints – particularly in the knees, hips, and feet. Furthermore, losing weight will help improve your mobility, reduce pain and prevent any extra damage to your joints in the future. Losing weight is also beneficial for your overall health.
2. Exercise more
There are several benefits to conducting more exercise in addition to losing weight. The primary reason why exercising is important is because regular movement helps maintain flexibility in joints and helps maintain range of motion of joints. Doctors and physical therapists recommend that low-impact exercises, such as water aerobics or swimming, are best for patients with arthritis as they help keep joints flexible without adding further stress.
3. Use of hot and cold therapy
There are several different hot and cold treatments for arthritis that can help ease and relieve arthritis pain. For example, long, warm showers (particularly in the morning), can help ease joints stiffness. Other ways to apply heat or cold include using an electric blanket or a moist heating pad to help loosen joints. Cold treatments are ideal for relieving pain, swelling and inflammation. One good way to help ease pain and reduce inflammation is by putting a gel ice pack or frozen vegetables in a towel to the affected joint for quick relief.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical treatment that involves the insertion of thin needles into different parts of your body. Acupuncture is supposed to help redirect energies and restore the energetic balance of the body. It is thought that acupuncture can help relieve arthritis pain, but it is important to find a licensed and certified acupuncturist in your region. Talk to your doctor to see if they have a recommendation for an acupuncturist in your area.
Techniques that help meditation and relaxation are able to help dampen the pain that arthritis bring on by reducing stress on your body and allowing you to cope better with it. Some studies have shown that the practice of mindfulness meditation can help ease joint pain and researchers have also found that meditation helps people with depression and arthritis significantly. When your stress levels are lower, then swelling, inflammation and pain drop and you have a higher quality of life.
6. Eat nutritious fatty acids
One of the most beneficial things you can do with regards to nutrition is to incorporate omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. These fats have been shown to be especially beneficial for arthritis. One of the ways through which you can incorporate omega-3 fatty acids is by taking fish oil supplements, which reduce joint pain and stiffness. Another type of beneficial fatty acid is known as gamma-linolenic acid, which is found in plants such as primrose, borage, hemp and black currants. One of the ways you can integrate this type of fatty acid into your diet is by taking oil or seeds of these plants as a supplement. Make sure to check in with your doctor before you take them.
7. Add turmeric to dishes
Turmeric, a spice that is commonly used in the East, contains a chemical called curcumin that can help decrease arthritis pain. This is because turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, a study showed that when researchers gave turmeric to lab rats, that led to a reduction in inflammation of their joints. While there is significantly more research needed on this, it likely won’t negatively affect you if you add turmeric to your diet.
Regular massages can help reduce joint pain and stiffness, as well as improve range of motion. You can work a physical therapist to learn how to conduct self-massages for when you don’t have access to a massage therapist. However, it is important to find a therapist that has previously worked with patients with arthritis. Ask your doctor for recommendations.
9. Take herbal supplements
There are several different types of herbal supplements that can help improve joint pain. They include boswellia, devil’s claw, bromelain, ginkgo, stinging nettle, and thunder god vine.