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Arthritis, Joint Pain

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Seven natural remedies for arthritis that actually work

14 Nov 2019
Seven natural remedies for arthritis that actually work News image

By Tim Michael

According to Arthritis Australia, nearly four million Australians are affected by arthritis at a cost to our economy of more than $26 billion each year in medical care and indirect costs.

The most common type is osteoarthritis, which affects about one in 11 Australians.

Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage between bones and joints wears down, allowing bones to rub together rather than giving them the protection and cushion they need.

Apart from nagging pain and loss of mobility, arthritis can also cause various complications.

And unfortunately, most conventional treatments for arthritis don’t address its underlying causes – plus they can cause long-term dependency and have many side effects.

Unfortunately, it’s not yet curable. While the condition is usually manageable, it invariably impacts quality of life and includes varying degrees of discomfort and pain.

Many people who formerly suffered from osteoarthritis claim to have finally found relief naturally through adjusting their diets, lifestyles, and approaches to managing pain.

Here are the top seven natural treatments for arthritis, according to health experts: 

1. Reach and maintain a healthy weight

Additional body fat strains joints, but accumulated fat itself can also cause problems to joints that are already sensitive and partially damaged. Fat does more than just sit on your body – it’s also an active tissue that creates and releases hormones and chemicals. Some of these promote inflammation and can contribute to worsening arthritis all over your body.

2. Improve Your Diet

Foods for helping treat arthritis include:

  • Omega-3- rich foods: Omega-3s are powerful at lowering inflammation and also have other benefits. Wild-caught fish, including salmon, is a great food of choice. Other sources include grass-fed beef, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
  • Foods high in sulfur: Sulfur contains a form of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) that reduces joint inflammation and helps rebuild your tissues. MSM has been shown in studies to lower pain and function impairment compared to placebo-controlled groups. Sources include onions, garlic, asparagus, and cabbage.
  • Bone broth: Bone broth is one of the best natural sources of collagen, which contains the amino acids proline and glycine, which help rebuild connective tissue and have many more benefits. Additionally, bone broth supplies chondroitin sulfates and glucosamine, antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation, arthritis, and joint pain.
  • High antioxidant foods (especially fruits and vegetables): Colourful fruits and veggies are packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin A, fibre, magnesium, potassium, digestive enzymes, and anti-inflammatory compounds. Some of the best sources include leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, berries, melon, papaya, avocado, and pineapple.
  • High-fibre foods: Fiber helps control your appetite, is beneficial for digestive health, and lowers the risk of various other diseases and complications. The best high-fiber foods include vegetables, fruit, ancient grains, soaked legumes/beans, and nuts and seeds like flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.

To help keep inflammation levels low, try to avoid these foods as part of an arthritis healing diet: excess sugar and refined conventional grain products, like wheat and other products containing gluten.

3. Stay Active

People with arthritis tend to be less active than those without arthritis, likely due to the pain they feel when exercising and moving stiff body parts. However, physical activity is important for joint health and in the long run can actually help treat arthritis.

Exercise is beneficial for strengthening the muscles around the affected joint, which provides added support and reduces strain.

Most experts consider movement an essential part of any arthritis treatment plan, even stating that it’s “the most effective non-drug treatment for reducing pain and improving movement in patients with osteoarthritis.” 

Aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise every week

4. Consume turmeric and ginger

According to US natural health website Lyfe Botanicals, there is growing evidence that turmeric, with its active ingredient curcumin, can provide relief from joint pain.

Recent studies have found turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant. 

Its curcuminoid content may help control the symptoms and flare-ups associated with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and osteoarthritis.

And ginger contains chemicals that may have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects on the body. In studies, ginger has been shown to lessen pain associated with arthritis and improve overall digestive health.

5. Get chiropractic treatment

Chiropractors are often able to alleviate some of the pain associated with osteoarthritis. The type of treatment you get depends directly on the acuteness and severity of your specific case of osteoarthritis.

Chiropractic and treatments for arthritis can include manipulation (sometimes called osteopathic manipulation) in the neck or lower back, spinal manipulation, massage therapy, training in biofeedback, and relaxation therapies to help control pain. 

6. Take Proteolytic Enzymes

Proteolytic enzymes aid in digestion by helping provide important enzymes that are normally produced by your digestive organs to metabolize foods. These enzymes can include trypsin and chymotrypsin (both produced by your pancreas), papain, and bromelain. Proteolytic enzymes are obtained from things like tropical fruits, including papaya, which contains papain, and pineapples, which contain bromelain.

Doses vary depending on the kind of enzymes, but recommendations are usually around 500 milligrams to 2,000 milligrams taken three times a day between meals.

7. Frankincense essential oil

Known as Indian frankincense, this potent supplement helps reduce inflammation. Frankincense be found in several concentrated forms, including a therapeutic-grade oil that can be massaged directly into the skin over painful areas.

Combine several drops of pure frankincense oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil, and apply to the painful joint area several times daily. Other essential oils that can be used to relieve arthritis pain include myrrh, turmeric, ginger, orange, peppermint, and lavender oils.

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