Try these natural remedies to alleviate the discomfort of arthritis.
Arthritis causes severe joint pain and inflammation, which for some means not being able to get dressed, open a door or even hold a fork. Approximately one in six Canadian adults aged 15 years and older has arthritis. It is among Canada’s most common chronic conditions, more common than heart disease and cancer.
Below are some suggestions for natural remedies to ease aches and pain.
Choose foods in your daily diet that decrease inflammation. Spices like turmeric, ginger and chili decrease the production of cytokines, inflammatory markers in the immune system that attack collagen in the body.
- Beets and onions naturally contain sulphurs, which inhibit enzymes from attacking collagen. Walnuts and salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids that convert into compounds that decrease the inflammatory response. Antioxidants such as vitamin C, carotenes and bioflavonoids may help prevent arthritis, slow its progression and relieve pain. Extra virgin olive oil contains a natural compound called oleocanthal, which may help prevent arthritis-related inflammation by blocking inflammatory pathways.
Getting these foods into your diet every day makes a huge impact on how much inflammation you experience!
Natural health products
Helps repair the cartilage in the joints by stimulating the production of glycosaminoglycans, the building blocks of cartilage.
Protects the cartilage and attracts fluids that give the tissue its shock absorbing quality.
MSM is thought to act in three ways: by blocking pain, donating sulphur to repair cartilage and as an anti-inflammatory.
Helps relieve joint inflammation and provides antioxidant protection for the maintenance of good health.
Along with nutrition and supplements, you can find relief from arthritis pain and symptoms with some physical medicine treatments you can do at home.
Ice packs and heating pads
Heat treatments such as heat pads and warm baths help soothe stiff joints and tired muscles. Heat is especially good for getting your body limber and ready for exercise or activity. Take a long, warm shower when you awaken to ease morning stiffness. Cold is best for acute pain, numbing painful areas and decreasing inflammation and swelling. Apply a bag of ice wrapped in a towel, a gel-filled cold pack or even a bag of frozen peas to painful areas for 10 minutes.
The major component of Epsom salt is magnesium, which reduces inflammation to relieve muscle cramps and pain. Add two cups of Epsom salt to a bathtub of warm water and soak for 30 minutes. This can be done up to three times per week for pain and inflammation.
Being overweight puts extra stress on the joints, which escalates the risk of wear and tear. Body fat is not an inert substance; it is metabolically active, capable of producing hormones and chemicals that actually increase levels of inflammation. By losing weight, you’ll automatically reduce inflammation in your body.
Incorporating daily exercise can strengthen the muscles around your joints; give you more strength and energy to get through the day; help you control your weight; and improve joint lubrication and mobility, reducing pain and inflammation. Some popular forms of exercise for arthritis include swimming, walking, jogging, strength and resistance training and Tai Chi, dance and yoga.
Dr. Joyce Johnson is a licensed naturopathic doctor who has authored five books and is a regular guest on TV outlets throughout the nation. She holds a certificate in adult education and specializes in educating the public and other health professionals about various health topics and natural health product issues including diet, supplementation and integration of pharmacological and natural therapies.