Natural Remedies for Arthritis
While drug therapies can very effectively reduce the symptoms of arthritis, joint pain and stiffness can still be a daily challenge. Using natural remedies as well as conventional treatments can play an important role in reducing the pain you experience. Here are a few techniques you may want to try to help you manage your symptoms more effectively.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight will play a big role in helping you cope with arthritis. This may mean you need to lose a few pounds, as being overweight can put extra pressure on your knees, increasing pain and inflammation. While losing weight is often very difficult, the benefits you’ll reap make it worth the hard work.
It’s important for everyone to get a reasonable amount of exercise, but physical activity can be particularly beneficial for people with osteoarthritis. People used to think that exercise made arthritis worse, but actually the opposite is true. A good exercise regime helps to keep your joints moving and your muscles strong, while a lack of physical activity only increases stiffness. Whether it’s swimming, cycling or even simply walking, try to incorporate a manageable amount of exercise into your routine. Just make sure you don’t push yourself to the point of exhaustion and discomfort.
While most people with arthritis don’t need to see a physical therapist, it can be helpful for those whose symptoms are particularly severe. If the condition has left you weakened and struggling to even get out of a chair, you may benefit from physical therapy. Just make sure you find a therapist who is experienced in treating arthritis patients specifically, who will know how to avoid pushing your body beyond its limits.
Acupuncture, which involves fine needles being inserted at particular points in your skin, can help to relieve the pain caused by arthritis. The technique is believed to work by diverting or changing the painful sensations that are sent to your brain from damaged tissue by stimulating your body’s own pain-relieving hormones. A number of studies have found it to be a very effective method of reducing arthritis pain for many sufferers.
Chiropractic therapy has not been found to reduce the symptoms of arthritis. However, it can help with the muscle spasms that are often caused by the condition’s symptoms. These spasms can be painful and can seriously interfere with your sleep, so alleviating them will do something to lessen the condition’s impact on your day to day life.
Simple items like shoe inserts, canes and braces can have a significant positive effect. They’ll help to redistribute your weight in a way which will put less pressure on your joints, particularly knees and hips. This will reduce your pain as well as helping to prevent your arthritis from getting worse.
Electrical energy delivered to arthritic joints through electrodes can help to ease pain and swelling. Electropuncture, which involves passing an electric charge to the joints through needles, can also have similar results. The results aren’t permanent, but a number of arthritis patients have found these techniques to at least provide short-term relief.
Glucosamine sulphate and glucosamine hydrochloride are nutritional supplements which have been found to delay the breakdown of damaged cartilage in animals. Research has been conducted to assess the effectiveness of these supplements in arthritis patients, but results have been mixed. In the studies that found a positive link, taking glucosamine sulphate in particular has been associated with some relief from symptoms in some arthritis patients. More research is needed, but if you’d like to try glucosamine supplements, the risk of side effects is usually very minimal so, for most, there’s no particular reason not to. However, you should be cautious about taking glucosamine if you have diabetes because it can increase your blood sugar levels, requiring you to adjust your treatment. You’ll also need to look for a shellfish-free variety if you’re allergic to shellfish.
Arthritis is a painful condition which can seriously impair your quality of life, so it’s worth trying out various methods of reducing its effects. These natural remedies may not be miracle cures, but they can be very effective, slowing down the condition’s progress, and generally reducing your pain and discomfort.