Natural Remedies for Arthritis
Although specialists identify up to 200 divisions of arthritic conditions, it is useful to think of arthritis falling into two categories: osteoarthritis and rheumatiod arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the natural wear and tear of the joints that occurs with ageing, as the cartilage surrounding the bones becomes thinner and the surface rougher. This leads to friction and degeneration occurs as the joint gets deformed.
Two principles of many natural approaches to arthritis, namely detoxification and improving circulation around the joints, are the main aims of aromatherapy treatment. Essential oils which aid tissue cleansing include Cypress, Juniper and Lemon, and these can be used as bath oils regularly. Juniper also has an anti-inflammatory and mildly analgesic effect; similar properties are found in Chamomile, lavender and Rosemary oils. These may all be used either in the bath or diluted in a base oil and gently massaged into the affected areas. If this painful or difficult to do, they may be used in a hot compress; try combining any two of these oils for greater effect, varying them to avoid overuse of any one oil. To stimulant the circulation, use oils such as Black Pepper, Ginger, Marjoram and Rosemary in any of the above ways. As you can see, some oils have overlapping effects and can help relieving arthritic discomfort in many ways.
Natural Pain Removers for Arthritis
- Supplements with glucosamine and chondroitin to reduce pain and slow cartilage loss. There's evidence that this combination can be effective for people with mild to moderate arthritis. Follow the dosage directions on the label. And keep at it: You might have to use it for a month or more before you begin to see benefits.
- Take a half-teaspoon of powdered ginger or up to an ounce (about 6 teaspoons) of fresh ginger once a day. Research shows that ginger helps relieve arthritis pain, probably because of its ability to increase blood circulation, which ferries inflammatory chemicals away from painful joints.
- Take two 400-milligram doses of SAM-e every day. SAM-e has been shown to help relieve arthritis pain by increasing blood levels of proteoglycans-molecules that seem to play a key roll in preserving cartilage by helping to keep it "plumped up" and well oxygenated. In a review of SAM-e studies sponsored by the U.S. government, the supplement proved comparable to anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) in fighting arthritis pain. If you get good results with 800 milligrams a day, reduce the dose to 400 milligrams a day after two weeks. If not, you can raise the dose, but don't take more than 1600 milligrams a day. SAM-e has no known side effects, and it seems to be safe in combination with prescription and OTC drugs.
Seek Heat Relief and Cold Comfort for Arthritis
Applying heat to a painful joint can provide significant relief. For heat sources, you can use electric blankets and mitts, heating pads, or hot packs. Simply taking a hot bath or shower can also be soothing.
Cold treatments may work equally well when joints are inflamed. Wrap an ice cube in a towel or washcloth, and press it to the sore joint. Alternatively, ou can use a bag of frozen peas or corn.
Go Hand in Glove to Bed for Arthritis
If you frequently have stiff, swollen hands in the morning, wear a snug-fitting pair of gloves, like Isotoners to bed. They'll keep the swelling in check.
Oil Aching Joints
- Eat more cold-water fish. Many people who supplement their diets with omega-3 fatty acids- found in cold water fish like salmon-discover that pain and stiffness are lessened. These substances seem to discourage inflammation in the body.
- If you dislike fish, get the healing oils in capsule form. The recommended dose is 2,000 milligrams of an Omega-3 supplement three times daily. If you take blood-thinning drugs, check with your doctor before taking fish-oil capsules.
- As an alternative to fish-oil capsules, take one teaspoon of flaxseed oil a day. It's loaded with the same type of omega-3's. Take the oil straight, or add it to your salad dressing.
- If you like nuts, indulge in them a bit. They also contain beneficial oil.
Rub On Relief for Arthritis Pain
Capsaicin is a substance that gives hot peppers their "heat". Rub on a store-bought capsaicin cream (brand names include Zostrix and Capzasin-P) and let it go to work. It irritates nerve endings, diverting your brain's attention from arthritis pain. Capsaicin may also take away pain by depleting the nerves of substance p, a chemical that transmits pain impulses to the brain. You'll need to use it for at least a week or two for full effectiveness.
Oil of wintergreen and eucalyptus oil are effective in reducing arthritis pain. Put a few drops on the skin and rub it in. Be cautious with the wintergreen however, since some people develop a skin reaction. Also, don't use either oils under a heating pad or hot compress, as the additional heat can cause them to burn or irritate the skin.
Keep Those Joints in Motion
Whether it's walking, swimming, biking, or yoga, commit to a gentle exercise regimen. The better your physical condition, the less pain and stiffness you'll have. If you have arthritis in your ankle, knee, or hip, you might need to walk with a cane-at least at first- to help stabilize those joints. If your joints are swollen and inflamed, don't work through the pain. Instead, take a day off.
Talk to your doctor about how to start a weight-training program. Strong muscles will help to support your joints and absorb shock.
Try to Measure Up
If you have hip or knee arthritis, as your doctor to measure the length of your legs. One out of five people with arthritis in these joints have one leg that is slightly longer than the other. Your doctor may be able to suggest corrective shoes for you or a referral to a chiropractor.
Check the Weather Report
Many people with arthritis find that their pain is triggered by changes in the weather. If you're one of them, it's not all in your head: a sudden increase in humidity and rapid drop in air pressure affect blood flow to arthritic joints. When a storm is brewing, turn on your air conditioner or dehumidifier to dry out the air.
5 Natural Tips to prevent Arthritis
- Maintain a healthy weight to help prevent osteoarthritis of the knees and other weight-bearing joints. If you lose just 10 pounds and keep it off for 10 years, you can slash your risk of arthritis in your knees by half, no matter what your current weight.
- If walking is part of your exercise program, make sure you don't cover the same terrain every day. Varying the kind of groun you walk on will prevent your from repeatedly, stressing the same joints in the same way.
- Invest in a pair of walking shoes. The softer heels will lessen the impact of walking on your foot, ankle, leg, and hip joints. Needless to say, high heels are out.
- Recent clinical studies have shown that vitamin C and other antioxidants can help reduce the risk of osteoarthritis and its progression. Antioxidants prevent bone breakdown by destroying free radicals-harmful oxygen bone breakdown by tissue damage. Take 500 milligrams of vitamin C every day.
- Take zinc supplements. One long-term study of nearly 30,000 women found that those who took zinc supplements lowered their risk of rheumatiod arthritis. Taking too much zinc may cause other health risks, however, so limit your intake to one daily 15 milligram dose, and take it with food.