If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or osteoarthritis (OA), you know that pain relief is almost always top of mind. Fortunately, there are several natural remedies for arthritis that can help you manage mild symptoms. Review these options, then talk to your doctor about whether any of these remedies might be helpful in your arthritis treatment plan.
Natural Remedies for Arthritis
Experiment with Herbs and Spices
For generations, cultures around the world have used herbs and spices as natural remedies. Keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t monitor herbs and supplements, so be sure to talk to your doctor about reputable sources for herbs and spices.
- Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus is a popular remedy for a wide range of inflammatory conditions. The leaves of eucalyptus plants contain tannins, which may help arthritis pain and swelling. Eucalyptus aromatherapy can also help ease symptoms.
- Boswellia: Boswellia serrata, or frankincense, is another popular anti-inflammatory option. Studies have shown that boswellic acid’s anti-inflammatory effects could extend to patients suffering from both RA and OA.
- Ginger: If you love ginger’s distinctive flavor, we have good news for you: Some researchers say that ginger could serve as an effective alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Want to witness ginger’s powerful effects for yourself? Start by making ginger tea, using ginger root in savory foods, and even adding powdered ginger to baked goods. Finally, be sure to check with a doctor before increasing your intake of ginger, as it can interfere with some medications.
- Turmeric: Turmeric, the vibrant yellow spice common in Indian dishes, contains a chemical called curcumin. Curcumin has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and has even been shown to reduce joint inflammation in rats.
Extra weight puts more pressure on your joints, which can worsen arthritis symptoms. If you are overweight, the American College of Rheumatology and Arthritis Foundation (ACR/AF) strongly recommends regular activity to help reduce your arthritis symptoms, improve your mobility, and prevent future joint damage. Not sure where to start? Good options include low-impact exercises, such as walking, cycling, and water exercises like aerobics.
Stress takes a major toll on the body. Fortunately, taking measures to reduce your stress levels can improve the inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. There are several stress relief tactics you can take:
- Massage: Not only can massage provide an overall sense of well-being – it can also help manage joint pain and discomfort. Ask your doctor to recommend a massage therapist who has experience in arthritis patients.
- Tai Chi: Relaxing exercise programs like tai chi and yoga combine meditation, relaxation, and breathing techniques to help you destress.
- Meditation: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that anxiety, stress, and depression can all contribute to chronic arthritis pain – and meditation can help.
Acupuncture, the ancient Chinese medical treatment that involves inserting thin needles into pressure points, might sound intimidating. However, it’s a highly regulated practice that the ACR/AF says may help some arthritis symptoms. If you’d like to try acupuncture, talk to your doctor about finding a licensed acupuncturist in your area.
With more and more clinical research on natural remedies for arthritis, managing your arthritis pain is easier than ever before. Before exploring these natural remedies for arthritis, be sure to talk to your doctor about which option is right for you.
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