Millions of arthritis sufferers-especially the elderly-wake up every day with achy, inflamed joints and go to bed with the same pain in their bodies. Many lie awake unable to sleep due to this pain. Instead of spending astronomical amounts of money on medications and surgeries, there are many natural remedies for arthritis that are available.
Exercise is essential. If an arthritic joint is not used, it will not remain lubricated, and a stiff joint will eventually not move at all. If you haven’t been exercising, remember to start your exercise program slowly. Increase your program as your body permits. The key is to listen to your body. A little exercise today will go a long way for your joints tomorrow.
Put away the pain relievers:
When the pain of arthritis becomes too much to handle, arthritis sufferers often reach for a bottle of aspirin. Those who choose to use natural methods of obtaining the same soothing relief can chew on a twig of willow. The bark of willow trees like the white willow, weeping willow or pussy willow contains salicin, a chemical very similar to aspirin.
Willow bark may react with a number of different drugs. It is important to discuss using willow bard with your doctor before beginning this natural treatment. Also, due to the risk of Reyes syndrome, children under the age of 16 should never be given willow bark or aspirin.
Pamper your joints:
Hot baths and hot mud baths have been used for centuries to relieve the pain of arthritis. Additionally, a mixture of dandelion greens and fern fronds-boiled to a paste and then cooled-has soothing properties when rubbed on the afflicted area. Cayenne pepper added to lotion and then applied topically also does the trick. Ginger extract has natural anti-inflammatory properties and no apparent side effects.
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 heating pad at night to keep your joints loose and use moist heating pads.Cold treatments are best for relieving joint pain. Wrap a gel ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and apply it to painful joints for quick relief.
Include the Right Fatty Acids in Your Diet
Everyone needs omega-3 fatty acids in their diets for optimum health. However, these fats may also help your arthritis. Fish oil supplements, which are high in omega-3s, may help 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 like 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.
Add Turmeric to Dishes
Turmeric, the yellow spice common in Indian dishes, contains a chemical called curcumin that may be able to reduce arthritis pain. The secret is its anti-inflammatory properties.
Consider Herbal Supplements
There are many kinds of herbal supplements on the market that claim to be able to reduce joint pain. Some of the herbs touted for arthritis pain include boswellia, bromelain, devil’s claw, ginkgo, stinging nettle, and thunder god vine. Always talk to your doctor before trying a new supplement to avoid side effects and dangerous drug interactions.
Bananas are packed with potassium and are a good sourced of Vitamin B, folate and Vitamin C-all great for fighting arthritis.
Foods to avoid:
- Red meat
- Dairy products
- Caffeinated foods and beverages
Foods to choose:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Cherry juice (concentrated, if possible)
- Gelatin (boosts cartilage rebuilding)
- Cold water fish (Omega-3)
- Whole foods, rather than processed foods
- Plenty of fresh water (keeps cartilage from dehydrating)
- To date, the best natural remedies for keeping arthritis in check include:
- Eat a balanced diet, rich in omega-3 oil and fruits and vegetables
- Avoid sugar, caffeinated and/or dairy products and alcohol
- Take a hot bath before bed (or use a hot water bottle or heating pad)
- Use topical ointments
- Maintain a good weight to height ratio
- Maintain a light, but consistent exercise program
- Eat gelatin with bananas on a regular basis
When it comes to fighting arthritis, there are many natural remedies that have the ability to soothe inflammation or ease pain, and there are vitamins we can take to keep our body running at its best. If we don’t exercise, eat properly, and perhaps most importantly, take in enough water, our bodies cannot function properly.
Know your body. Learn what works for you.