If you suffer from arthritis then you know how painful and debilitating it can be. Over-the-counter medicines such as Ibuprofen can take the edge off of your pain, but regular consumption can lead to additional health problems. Unfortunately, arthritis, by nature, gets worse over time. How can you treat your arthritis pain and stay healthy at the same time? It’s easier than you think.
Tip: There are many natural ways to treat arthritis pain, swelling and stiffness.
1. Natural Anti-Inflammatories
There are certain spices and natural foods that can help reduce arthritis pain. Turmeric is one such resource. It is a spice originating from India and derived from the root of the turmeric plant. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin.
Curcumin has been used successfully in a variety of medical treatments such as those for lowering blood sugar, reducing inflammation from osteoarthritis, lowering instances of hay fever, combating depression, and lowering high cholesterol.
Curcumin is also said to help improve memory skills and clear thinking. And it can help you avoid liver and other diseases. This spice is highly regarded as a superfood.
To utilize the many health benefits of curcumin from turmeric, start by adding 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric to either your tea or your food. One turmeric-tea recipe that tastes amazing is Cosmic Chai.
Cosmic Chai Recipe
- Brew an 8 oz glass of black tea
- Mix in 1/2 tsp of Turmeric
- Add a splash of unsweetened almond milk
- (Optional) Top it off with cream and vanilla to add sweetness
Be sure to only use 1/2 tsp of turmeric as one full teaspoon will be too strong for an eight-ounce mug.
If you want to add turmeric to food, one way to start is to add it to scrambled eggs along with cheese and butter. You don’t need to add much, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon is plenty. Once you become used to the taste, you can add more.
Experiment with a variety of food and drink, and you’ll soon discover your favorite combinations.
2. Stretch and Exercise
Stretching mainly benefits people who suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis. Still, others will see improvements in the reduction of inflammation. Stretching not only improves flexibility but also increases your range of motion. The types of stretches that will benefit you will depend on which joints are the most inflamed. A good place to start is with the following 5 suggestions.
- Begin with a three to five-minute walk to warm up your body
- Practice Tai Chi or Yoga (or both)
- Strength Training is always good because it helps shed weight too
- Try a water workout. This form of fitness is light impact on the joints.
- Hand exercises. Those that suffer from RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) have reduced use of their hands. If this is something that affects you, squeezing a stress ball is a great way to get started with hand exercises. Just remember to be consistent. Inconsistency with any form of exercise means not reaping any of the benefits.
A massage can ease arthritic pain by increasing your range of motion. Massage benefits can be achieved with only a few minutes of massage every day or an hour-long treatment once a week. Another benefit of having a massage is that one sixty-minute session equals a full night’s sleep! So, if your arthritic pain has been causing you to lose rest each night, a massage will help you recover some of the energy needed to rejuvenate you to get through your day.
Additionally, massage can help provide you with an overall sense of relaxation and well-being. Feeling good can help you combat joint pain and discomfort.
4. Weight loss
Losing weight can dramatically reduce pain from arthritis by reducing inflammation in the body. One of the potential culprits of an increase in inflammation is the hormone Leptin. When this hormone does not function correctly (along with insulin resistance), it can cause Type 2 Diabetes. Reducing inflammation can lead to better sleep and overall better health as well.
Additionally, you will decrease the pressure on your joints when you loose weight which will also help relieve pain.
5. Avoid Dairy
The dairy industry has long claimed that cow milk consumption will help protect against osteoporosis and osteoarthritis because it contains calcium. Newer scientific claims suggest this is untrue. In fact, it can cause the opposite situation and can exasperate arthritis by increasing inflammation in the body. This is due to an enzyme that is naturally present in a cow’s body that doesn’t harm them but is detrimental in humans.
Sources of calcium can be found in many other foods – anything from broccoli to kale or even a glass of orange juice. As long as you eat or drink 1,000 mg per day, you are good to go! Post-menopausal women need 200 mg more to achieve optimum bone health.
Overall, there are many different options when it comes to reducing arthritis and joint swelling and stiffness. Depending on the severity, you may want to speak with your physician before starting a new exercise routine. Those suffering from RA for example may find it challenging to lift dumbbells and strength train. Start with a light exercise routine first or incorporate multiple options from this list. If you’re consistent, you’ll be pleased with the new and improved you.
Acupuncture is safely practiced all over the world by thousands of properly licensed acupuncturists. Their training includes instruction both in using needles and in diagnosing the source of your condition. The treatment is said to work by rerouting your body’s energies and restoring balance. The American Medical Association supports acupuncture treatments and select insurance companies do cover the cost of your treatment.
According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health), there have been studies conducted that support practicing mindful meditation to reduce pain and anxiety. Anxiety, stress, and depression are three common side effects of chronic pain, such as the pain caused by arthritis.
8. Compression Gloves
Arthritis compression gloves are often used as part of the management of arthritis for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and early inflammatory arthritis (IA). Compression gloves are made of nylon and and a stretch material such as Lycra® or spandex. Arthritis compression gloves apply pressure to your hand with the goal of relieving hand pain, swelling, stiffness and improving hand function.
The use of therapy compression gloves is practiced widely by occupational therapists.