According to the US National Library of Medicine 1, arthritis isdefined by many symptoms that include difficulty in maintaining normal joint movements due to stiffness and pain in the joints due to degeneration or damage. In a few cases arthritis is also associated with extra-articular manifestations such asmoderate to severe involvement of skin, eye or heart.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that in US one out of every five adults (that corresponds to almost 50 million people) have been diagnosed with arthritis. With the physiological aging of the population, it is expected that the prevalence will further rise to 67% by the year 2030. Although there is no cure of degeneration caused by arthritis, there are certain remedies that may alleviate the discomfort and assist you in coping with arthritis.
Natural Remedies for Arthritis
1. Keep the Joint Moving
Keep the joints moving as frequent as you can. Maintaining the joint movement may assist in keeping the musculoskeletal elements in proper functional condition. The joints may be vastly assisted by indulging in activities like housecleaning, gardening or talking a walk.Keeping joints in a similar position for a prolonged time period may contribute to discomfort and stiffness, so try stretching and relaxing the joints whenever it is possible.
2. Perform Moderate Exercise
A variety of exercises may be used for easing arthritis. The simplest exercises are the motion range exercises. These activities assist in restoring and maintaining joint flexibility. Aerobic exercises are loaded with benefits and may assist in toning muscles and enhancing stamina along with multiple beneficial effects on lung, blood vessels and heart. Weight bearing aerobics aim on strengthening the bones. Resistance exercises are a must as these activities help in strengthening the muscles while providing protection and support to the joints. Refrain from aggressive exercising if it brings you any discomfort.
You can take some exercises as the video shows:
3. Take OTC Pain Relievers
OTC medications may be used for alleviating pain, like analgesic acetaminophen and NSAIDs like aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen. It must be noted that these OTC or non-prescription medicines bear some side effects and are not suitable for all individuals, so before opting such medications, seek a doctor’s advice. After discussing with your doctor, stick to the given instruction in order to prevent serious side effects.
4. Control Weight
Obesity is one of the most serious contributing factorsthat will add unnecessary stress on the joints. Putting on 10 pounds is equal to increase almost 40 pounds on primary weight-bearing joints like knee joint. Hence being overweight can add a number of problems to your body, such as adding to your discomfort and pain. In order to maintain your joints in proper function, the best strategy is to reduce the excess amount of weight.
5. Use Objects to Keep Warm
A scarf may be put around the knee or elbow joint in case of acute aches. It will provide relief due to the extra warmth. Stretched gloves may produce a reinforced effect which alleviates the arthritis with condition of edema or swelling. The joints may also be benefited by putting on thermal underwear or electric blankets. Electric gloves are another option to keep the arthritic fingers toasty. Put them on before going to bed at night. Goose down blankets can also alleviate the pain.
6. Apply Hot and Cold Compress
Heat works by minimizing the stiffness and soothing the joints and muscles. For this purpose, a damp, warm towel may be used. At times heat compresses might worsen the already hot joint that’s exposed to inflammation. Cold compresses work by chilling the hot joint that is exposed to inflammation. Avoid cold compresses in case of Raynaud’s phenomenon and vasculitis. For this purpose, cold packs of blue ice, crushed ice or frozen peas may be used. Cold packs must not be applied on multiple joints at one time.
7. Use Assistive Tools
Gone are those days where people were confined to manual operative tools. Say hello to electric knives and can openers. Wagons or carts may be used to carry the heavy load such as laundry baskets or groceries. Apart from these tools, other assistive devices that are highly beneficial may include braces, splints, canes and shoe inserts, which may assist in distributing the body weight equally.
8. Take in Calcium Rich Food
Follow a diet that’s rich in calcium as it provides ultimate protection to bones. Not getting sufficient dietary calcium may be problematic.In such case, taking calcium supplements to prevent the bones from becoming weak is necessary. It is recommended for women to consume 1000 milligram of calcium per day before menopause whereas the dose to be taken after menopause varies from 1200-1500 milligrams. Men are recommended to take calcium in the doses ranging from 1000-1300 milligrams.
9. Soak in Epsom Salt Water
Epsom salts, also referred to as magnesium sulphate, are often employed for soak to alleviate the joint aches and minimize the swelling. Take a few teaspoons of Epsom salts and mix them in the water for soaking. At times extra localized soaks are essential, for example, feet. When having to deal with painful feet, rest them in a tub containing sufficiently warm water with mixed 2 tablespoon of Epsom salts. This will have a soothing effect.
10. Try Massage
Arthritis Foundation suggests that by massaging the affected joints regularly, stiffness and pain may be minimized to some extent and the motion range may also be enhanced. Seek help from a physical therapist for guidelines if you want to try self-massage or you can simply get an appointment with a specialized massage therapist regularly. Be sure that the therapist you consult is the one who has a sound experience of massaging arthritic joints.
11. Take Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a must for optimal health and may produce a significant beneficial effect on people with arthritis. Omega-3s are found richly in the fish supplements, which may assist in relieving joint associated pain and stiffness.
12. Use Capsaicin
Studies have yielded that topical application of capsaicin may alleviate the pain caused by arthritis. The results also suggest that the rheumatoid arthritis participants have benefited more as compared to participants with osteoarthritis.