Arthritis is a collective term used to describe conditions related to joint inflammation and pain. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for arthritis yet, but your doctor may prescribe you some medications to help you alleviate the pain, such as over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers.
In case you don’t know, arthritis has more than 100 different types, but the most common are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder where a person’s immune system attacks their joints, causing pain and uncontrolled inflammation. Osteoarthritis (OA), on the other hand, is a degenerative condition where the part between joints degenerates, causing swelling and pain. However, it may also occur when people cause injury or damage to their joints.
If you experience persistent chronic joint pain from RA or OA, seek immediate help from your local orthopedic specialists. They’ll provide you with a proper diagnosis to better address your condition and restore normal and healthy movements.
While medications may help alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, many people would still prefer the natural way. In this article, you’ll be able to discover some of the effective natural treatments that may help relieve your arthritis pain and slow down its progression.
Perform Aquatic Exercises Regularly
Aquatic exercises, such as swimming and diving, are an effective way to help people deal with the pain caused by arthritis. These activities provide mild and gentle resistance, allowing joints to move lightly without causing intense pain. Since joints are actively moving, muscle atrophy and limited ligament movements may be prevented.
On a side note, the buoyant force from the water also supports body weight, which reduces the stress and pressure on the affected joints. Also, people with OA reported to have experienced other benefits worth noting, including:
- Reduced amount of body fat
- Boost in mood
- Elevated quality of life
- Improved body coordination and balance
- Improved movement
- Maintained and improved muscle strength
- Decreased chances of depression and anxiety
For better results and performance, choose a water activity that focuses on stretching, balancing, endurance, and power. Also, it’d be best to perform such activities at least 40 to 60 minutes, thrice a week.
As discussed earlier, being overweight and obesity may worsen arthritis because of the added stress and pressure on the joints, especially on the feet, hips, and knees. For this reason, it’s important to consider losing a significant amount of weight to relieve its symptoms. Consider targeting the normal weight parallel to your height (body mass index).
Here are other benefits of losing weight for arthritis:
- Reduced chances of worsening arthritis activity
- Improved chances of minimal disease activity
- Reduced chances of experiencing a gout attack
- Slowed down cartilage degeneration
- Reduced levels of uric acid
Weight loss is a tough challenge, but it can help you prevent other medical conditions that may result in severe complications, such as diabetes, heart attack, some types of cancers, and sleep apnea. So, talk to your nutritionist or dietitian, and start your weight loss journey.
Have A Relaxing Massage
Massage is an effective way to relieve and soothe the pain brought about by arthritis. The reason for that is the reduced production of the hormone cortisol and the chemical messenger substance P, which is related to pain. Instead, it boosts the production of serotonin, which improves your mood and makes you feel good and confident.
In addition, people with rheumatoid arthritis, especially on their upper limbs, experience good benefits due to massage. The pain is reduced, their range of motion improves, and their grip is strengthened. Also, many believe that people with knee arthritis could receive the same benefits if they receive a massage.
Furthermore, Swedish massage has been shown to improve the symptoms of people with OA. Pain is reduced, stiffness gradually lessened, and joint movement is also improved.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese treatment used to heal people for centuries. It inserts ultra-thin stainless-steel needles to various body points to alleviate different symptoms. It’s also used to provide a calming and soothing sensation to stressed and overfatigued people.
The principle of acupuncture is based on qi (pronounced as ‘chee’). It is the energy of life that freely flows throughout the body. Once the path where the energy flows is blocked, unwanted painful symptoms may occur.
The role of an acupuncturist is to keep the path and restore the natural circulation of energy in one’s body, relieving the symptoms. However, many studies would be needed to fully understand how acupuncture works based on scientific principles.
Furthermore, many believe that the treatment can provide relief without experiencing side effects for people with RA.
Practice Tai Chi
Tai Chi is a traditional form of Chinese martial arts that focuses on the flow of internal and external energy based on ancient principles of yin and yang. Its gentle, freely-flowing, and peace-loving movements are believed to be an effective technique to alleviate the pain caused by arthritis.
Also, it’s ideally perfect for people of different fitness levels and ages. In China, the elderly practice it as a gentle exercise every morning, providing an extensive range of motion despite their old age.
On top of that, people who practice Tai Chi have reported reduced symptoms of depression and a boost in their quality of life than those who only performed stretching and calm reading.
Try Hot And Cold Treatments
Hot and cold treatments offer positive results in mitigating the symptoms of pain and inflammation due to arthritis.
Hot therapy effectively improves blood circulation, and relieves muscle stiffness and joint pain. Cold therapy slows down the blood flow by restricting blood vessels to reduce swelling and inflammation, and alleviate joint pain.
Everyone can try both treatments, but it’s important to monitor how such treatments will affect your skin. It’d be best to stop the treatment once skin damage or injuries have turned up.
Some examples of heat therapy include the following:
- Having a warm shower or bath every morning to ease muscle and joint stiffness
- Applying a heated paraffin wax to the affected joint
- Using a hot pack or warm bottle of water on the affected joint
On the other hand, cold treatment includes:
- Making an ice bag and placing it in painful areas
- Submerging the painful joint in an ice bath
- Using an ice-cold water bottle or ice pack on the affected joint
Also, it’s important to limit the application of cold treatments to 20 minutes with a three-hour break. Do this at least three times per day.
Engage With Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation helps people focus deeply on their feelings and experiences, relieving their pain, which may negatively affect the immune system. In fact, it greatly improves one’s immune defense, preventing severe infections and complications.
In addition, it’d be best to combine meditation with Tai Chi and yoga for much better results. Also, experts believe that mindfulness meditation is somehow effective for people experiencing RA.
Follow A Balanced And Healthy Diet
Diet and nutrition are important factors that help people heal and restore their aching or injured bodies. Not only that, but they’re also capable of boosting the immune system, which prevents infections and diseases from attacking the body.
When it comes to arthritis, a healthy diet may significantly improve the condition of people experiencing both OA and RA. A plant-based diet may also help reduce swelling and inflammation due to its antioxidants that eradicate free radicals inside the body.
On the other hand, it’d be best to avoid foods that may induce joint pain and inflammation, such as red meats, processed foods, sugary foods, and foods high in saturated fats. This will not only help address arthritis symptoms, but also prevent chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases, leading to a good quality of life.
Here are the best foods to consume whether you have arthritis or not:
- Fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, sardines, and mackerel
- Garlic, which has anti-inflammatory properties, that may prevent joint inflammation
- Ginger, which may help prevent the production of pain-inducing hormones in the body
- Broccoli, which is believed to decrease the levels of inflammatory markers
- Walnuts, which are also high in omega-3 fatty acids that may help relieve the symptoms of arthritis
- Berries, which are rich in antioxidants capable of relieving inflammation
- Spinach, which is high in an antioxidant called kaempferol, believed to reduce the pain and inflammation due to arthritis
Foods are important, but you shouldn’t forget other factors that may affect arthritis, such as lifestyle, body weight, and bad habits.
Arthritis is a condition where joints experience mild to severe pain, swelling, and inflammation. The most common types of arthritis many people may experience are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
While the symptoms of arthritis can be treated with medications, many people still prefer natural treatment practices. These include performing aquatic exercises, losing weight, receiving massage or acupuncture, practicing Tai Chi, and applying hot and cold therapies.
Furthermore, it’s important to be mindful of what you consume. Food is important during recovery, so make sure to have a healthy and balanced diet. Avoid foods that may aggravate joint pain and inflammation, such as red meats and salty and sugary foods.
Lastly, when all these don’t work, the best thing you can do is seek medical treatment for proper diagnosis and professional treatment.