Aches and pains often come with aging, or at least we assume that this is true. Many adults develop inflammatory conditions and resign themselves to dealing with the arthritis pain. Most individuals take over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen to counter the painful condition. However, others commit to finding natural remedies to combat the aching agony of arthritis.
To treat arthritis, one must understand precisely what the condition is. Arthritis is a degenerative condition that may occur as a result of aging, but may also be the result of a genetic predisposition. Furthermore, there are multiple forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis arises from general wear and tear on joints as we age. Some osteoarthritis occurs because of injuries over a person’s lifetime. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system erroneously sees the joints (and joint tissue) as “the enemy” and attacks what it believes to be foreign tissue.
With either of these situations, the pain and discomfort associated with arthritis arise from the inflammation of the joint tissues. Knowing that inflammation is a prime factor in the occurrence of arthritis pain helps to focus on how to treat the condition.
Doctors typically advise taking the OTC medications, as mentioned above. And, in some severe instances, they may prescribe a mild painkiller. However, recent evidence shows that many of those who have arthritis often become addicted to these painkillers. With nationwide trends influencing doctors to shy away from prescribing opiates or other pain medications due to the possibility of addiction, many patients find themselves looking for natural ways to alleviate the throbbing arthritic aches.
15 Natural Remedies to Alleviate Your Arthritis Pain at Home (no meds needed!)
You’d think that arthritis should be treated by relaxing and reducing the use of painful joints? Actually, the reverse is true! Regular workouts aid the joints in remaining flexible. Consider how you might feel first thing in the morning – after all those hours of inactivity, you are likely a little stiff. However, once you move around a little, you find it is easier to get around.
The same premise takes place when you walk or do light exercise! Speaking of walking, moderately-paced walking, even just for twenty minutes daily, can help keep your joints flexible. Swimming, perhaps one of the best exercises for those with arthritis, allows for you to move a great deal with little impact on the limbs. Consult with your doctor, but light weight-bearing exercise can also help to strengthen your muscles.
2. Hot and Cold Therapy
While many people living with arthritis do not enjoy cold weather as it tends to amp up the joint pain and stiffness of the condition, cold therapy actually helps to reduce the swelling that is associated with inflammation. For quick pain relief, you can take a bag of frozen vegetables, wrap it in a towel, and place it on the affected area. An excellent investment, however, is a gel-filled ice pack that is reusable. Elevate the affected area, and put on the ice pack. Fifteen minutes to a one-half hour icing will help to reduce the painful swelling that makes one’s joints so stiff.
Heat therapy is also great for relieving arthritic pain; however, you should be aware that heat therapy takes longer to administer (and longer pain relief times). If mornings are tough for you, and time allows, warm baths will help to loosen up those stiff joints that have been sedentary for some time. To provide additional relief, sprinkle Epsom salt in your warm bathwater.
Other forms of heat therapy include using heating pads along with the aforementioned elevation of the affected limbs. You may also see some relief if you sleep under an electric blanket.
You may also find significant relief by alternating hot and cold therapy.
Acupuncture is fast becoming a popular natural method of treating several physical ailments, including arthritis. This method of treatment hails from the Orient, and it involves inserting thin needles into specific pressure points in the body. This practice comes from believing that placing needles in certain areas will cause alleviation of any pain or other physical complaints. Enthusiasts believe that placing needles at specific points of the body re-routes negative energy that might be causing the arthritic pain.
Western medicine is beginning to understand the value of acupuncture. However, if one decides to explore this form of treatment, then find an acupuncturist who is both licensed and certified.
4. Cupping Therapy
Do you like the concept of acupuncture–in theory? But, maybe you cringe at the idea of submitting to needle sticks? Then, you can give cupping therapy a try.
This alternative medicine works on the same principle, determining precise pressure points and redirecting the body’s energy. However, instead of needles, the technician applies pressure by sucking tissue into cups using gentle vacuum pressure.
5. Meditation and other Relaxation Techniques
The National Institute of Health conducted a study in which participants were encouraged to utilize meditation or other techniques to reduce the pain of arthritis. Many individuals found that not only did the practice minimize pain, but it helped the individuals to better cope with any pain that was present. In fact, the reduced stress had a positive effect overall for the participants, and most related that they had a reduction of symptoms due to the lessened stress.
This outcome was especially true for those who experienced depression, along with arthritis.
Many individuals are taking advantage of apps that provide steps to meditate or otherwise experience relaxation techniques.
6. Add Fats to your Diet
Yes, you read that correctly – add some fats to your diet! However, the fats of which we speak aren’t the unhealthy, saturated fats that can lead to weight gain and inflammation in the body. These fats are omega-3 fatty acids that you can add to your diet by eating more fish or by taking supplements. Fish oil supplements, high in these omega-3 fatty acids, have been shown in multiple studies to alleviate pain and swelling associated with arthritis.
Another fatty acid that proves to aid in reducing the pain and stiffness of arthritis is gamma-linolenic acid or GLA. You’ll find GLA in individual plant seeds, such as hemp, evening primrose, black currants, or evening primrose. While you can’t ingest these plant seeds, you can buy the oils of these seeds or find supplements that contain the oils.
7. Try a Massage
As previously stated, many individuals find relief from painful physical conditions by finding ways to relax. A massage is a great way to not only relax but also to soothe tender, inflamed muscles. A certified massage therapist can target problem areas. Regular massage therapy sessions are shown to improve the overall range of motion in affected individuals.
8. Herbal Supplements that Reduce Arthritic Pain
Many supplements on the market boast that they can alleviate the inflammation associated with Arthritis:
- cat’s claw
- Gingko Biloba
- stinging nettle
Always consult your physician before trying any new supplement.
Turmeric is an Indian cooking spice that you may add to your food to reduce inflammation and the resultant swelling of inflamed joints. However, you can also take turmeric supplements. Either way, turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory where natural remedies are concerned.
10. Find a Creative Outlet.
Do you enjoy painting or gardening? Perhaps you like to write. Stress directly links back to the inflammation and pain of arthritis. Whether you have financial or personal concerns that stress you, finding a creative outlet is an excellent natural remedy to alleviating arthritic pain.
11. Laugh out Loud!
An adage says that laughter is the best medicine, and studies show that this is true. Laughter helps to alleviate the stress that links with painful arthritis. Moreover, spending time with people who make you laugh will help to rid you of some of that stress.
Alternatively, watch a funny movie (bonus points if you do this while elevating the arthritic limb and alternate those hot and cold compresses!). Not only will the heat/cold therapy help as a natural remedy, but you’ll also take your mind off any stressful situations you’re experiencing.
12. TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
This natural remedy for arthritis pain is becoming rather popular, especially for those experiencing arthritis pain in their back or shoulders. TENS uses sticky pads outfitted with electrodes that send small shocks of electricity to the affected area. You can adjust the frequency and strength of the shocks with a dial.
The electrical shocks of the TENS pads tend to override the nerve pain associated with arthritis. Furthermore, the TENS pads trigger endorphins, which further dissipate the pain of arthritis.
13. Vitamin D Supplements
You know that Vitamin D is essential to our overall well-being, but did you know that Vitamin D deficiencies have been directly linked to arthritis pain caused by the immune system? A 2016 study found many with Rheumatoid Arthritis had lower than normal levels of Vitamin D. Spend some time in the sun, or take a Vitamin D supplement to experience these natural remedies for arthritis pain.
14. Chondroitin and Glucosamine
Another top supplement for arthritis pain is the combination of chondroitin and glucosamine. Glucosamine directly affects the growth and maintenance of cartilage. Chondroitin is a natural remedy that prevents the breakdown of cartilage. Together, these supplements help relieve arthritis pain.
15. Yoga and Tai Chi
Low-impact exercise (think yoga, stretching, or Tai Chi) can help to relieve stress and to strengthen the muscles surrounding affected arthritic joints. Furthermore, gentle exercise will help you learn to breathe correctly, delivering vital oxygen to the body–and that can reduce pain. Participating in these activities as little as three times a week can help to alleviate the pain associated with arthritis.
Final Thoughts: Treat Your Arthritis Pain With Natural Remedies
If you hesitate to take prescriptions or over-the-counter medications to resolve your arthritis pain, give these therapies a try. You might just be surprised at how useful these natural remedies can be in helping you feel well again.