Natural Treatments for Arthritis
Arthritis is a debilitating disease that affects almost 1 in 5 Australians. It is often referred to as a single disease but is in fact a collective term given to a range of diseases, the most common being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Arthritis causes pain, stiffness, and inflammation in joints, which may lead to joint weakness, instability, and deformations that affect a person's ability to perform even the most basic daily tasks, like opening a jar or turning a door knob.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have different causes. Osteoarthritis results from damage to the joints and or general wear and tear over time. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune condition whereby the immune system overreacts and attacks the delicate tissue surrounding the joints, leading to the symptoms of arthritis.
Despite the differences, there are some common strategies you can employ in order to reduce the symptoms associated with the conditions.
Lose Weight Losing weight means that much less stress will be placed on your weight-bearing joints (ankles, knees, hips and vertebrae) when you perform everyday tasks. This may decrease further damage to the joints that results from simply carrying around excess weight. Furthermore, since excess body fat results in greater levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the body, which make arthritis worse, losing weight will lower the level of these chemical messengers too.
Exercise Regularly Regular exercise is enormously beneficial for arthritis. Even though it was previously thought exercise would aggravate the condition, research has demonstrated that it actually reduces the symptoms associated with the condition by reducing inflammation in the body and promoting joint lubrication. However, it is important that you select the type of exercise that best suits your body. For example, a person with osteoarthritis in their knee joints may want to minimise or avoid running on hard surfaces. In this case, non-weight-bearing activities may be best, i.e. swimming, rowing and cycling.
Improve Your Dietary Habits Even though there is no single diet that has been proven to cure arthritis and there is no evidence that eating acidic foods. Like tomatoes, can aggravate the condition, making healthier food choices can certainly help relieve the symptoms of arthritis in several ways.
Healthier foods may assist your weight-loss efforts, which, as mentioned earlier, will reduce the stress being placed on your joints. Also, by including anti-inflammatory foods in your diet the severity of arthritic symptoms may be dramatically reduced. Omega 3's from fish, flax seeds, walnuts, and green leafy vegetables, or their equivalent oils, are certainly worthwhile including in your diet. Garlic, ginger, turmeric, rosemary, and cloves are also beneficial in reducing inflammation in your body.
It is also worthwhile avoiding sugar and high-sugar foods, processed foods, refined grains, trans fats, and cooking oils at high temperatures. These tend to cause greater inflammation in the body.
Reduce Stress Stress is our response to fear or pressure. It tends to be a common part of everyday life for most people. The problems for arthritis sufferers is that it may lead to muscle tension and by doing so, cause pain in the joints. Therefore, it is beneficial to be aware of when you're feeling stressed by recognising the signs. Then you can take the steps necessary to lower your stress levels or at least help your body deal with stress more effectively.
Some strategies that have been found to be useful include: breathing techniques, meditation, relaxation strategies, or using stress-relieving supplements like BCN's Rhodiola Advanced.
Manage Pain Pain is often associated with arthritis and for some sufferers of the condition it is something they have to deal with on a daily basis. Nevertheless, pain doesn't have to control your life, especially if you employ some of the strategies here. However, it is important to keep in mind that what works for one person may or may not work for another, so it is best to work with your healthcare practitioner to determine the best approach for you.
Using a hot or cold pack (depending on your type of arthritis) placed over the painful joint(s), may provide relief as does having a hot or cold shower. Engaging in activities you enjoy may help to distract you from some of the pain you may be experiencing. Also, using pain-relieving natural supplements may be beneficial.
Some of these include, glucosamine/chondroitin combinations, boswelia, and curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric), which is found in a highly bioavailable forms in BCN's Relieve Turmeric Forte+ and InflammaCalm.
Even though arthritis may be something you need to manage for the rest of your life, by following the natural treatment strategies mentioned here, you should be able to make it relatively easy to deal with.