Written by Fintan Duggan QQI L5 Healthcare Support
Natural remedies osteoarthritis
Millions of people around the world suffer from different forms of arthritis, in this article we are going to look at the most common form of arthritis, Osteoarthritis and offer you some advice on
natural remedies for osteoarthritis.
How does osteoarthritis happen?
Osteoarthritis occurs over time when the cartilage protecting the ends of your bones begins to wear away, this condition may affect any of the joints in the body but the most common areas that it occurs are in the hands, knees, hip and spine. The main symptoms are stiffness, pain and tenderness, medication can usually manage these symptoms effectively however the progression can’t be stopped, by being active, watching your weight along with other natural remedies may help to slow the process down and assist with reducing pain and joint mobility.
The symptoms of Osteoarthritis very often start slowly and get progressively worse over time, the main symptoms and signs are:
- Pain in the joints either during or after movement
- Stiffness usually noticed first thing in the morning or following a period of inactivity
- Tenderness felt in the joints by pressing lightly on them
- Less flexibility difficulty moving knee, ankle, hip or hand joint fully
- Bone spurs painful bits of bone that form over the affected joint
Other forms of arthritis
The word arthritis is used to describe a group of degenerative and painful conditions characterized by joint inflammation causing pain and stiffness. Osteoarthritis the more common kind of arthritis is caused by wear & tear and gets progressively worse as we age. Rheumatoid arthritis isn’t the same as Osteoarthritis, it is an autoimmune disease because the immune system attacks the joints as if they were some foreign invader in the body, the symptoms are somewhat similar and include
- Joint stiffness
- Joint tenderness
- Swelling in the joints
- Joint warmness
- Painful joints
Traditional Arthritis Treatments
Doctors usually approach arthritis treatment by prescribing anti-inflammatory painkillers and medications, these normally work, however long-term use can have some serious side effects, reported side effects such as;
These are a class of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, reported side effects include:
- Swollen feet
- Stomach ulcer
- Upset stomach
- Risk of heart attack, stroke or blood clots
These are anti-inflammatory medicine (steroids) reported side effects include:
- Raised blood sugars
- Elevated blood fats
- Bone loss
- Heightened appetite
These are anti rheumatic drugs used to modify the condition, reported side effects include:
- Increased vulnerability to infection
- Stomach upset
Depending on which drug brand is used, reported side effects include:
- Weak pulse
- Rapid pulse
- Trouble breathing
- Swelling & redness
- Injection reactio
What would make your life better?
Regular exercise has a lot more benefits than losing weight or maintaining your weight, by simply going for a brisk walk you use all of the important joints in the body, this keeps them flexible, you could even try swimming, it is a low impact sport, especially beneficial for flexing the joints without putting any stress on your body.
2. Lose weight
As we age many of us will put a few pounds on here and there, it’s not a major problem for our joints as long as we exercise regularly, however if you find that those few pounds are turning into stones then you have a problem, being overweight may impact the level of pain that you experience from arthriti, the extra weight will put pressure on your joints causing stress and pain. Try exercising more, cut out fatty foods to reduce weight.
The Chinese people have been using acupuncture for pain relief, acupuncture has a huge amount of research into it as a complementary therapy in fact the WHO recommend it to be used for more than one hundred contrasting conditions. Acupuncture is thought to help with arthritis pain by inserting small needles into parts of the body.
4. Meditation for arthritis pain relief
Meditation offers relaxation methods that could help in reducing arthritic pain, learning to relax can reduce stress and may help you to cope better with the pain. One study by the NIH found that practising meditation mindfulness was helpful to some people with joint pain.
5. Hot & Cold treatments
You could try some hot & cold treatments at home, some have found it to be beneficial for arthritis pain. Hot treatment would include a very hot shower or bath in the morning may help with the joint stiffness or try using an electric blanket at night to loosen the joints. To bring down swelling, inflammation and joint pain try putting a gel ice-pack or something cold from your freezer into a towel apply the towel to the painful joints for fast relief.
Getting a regular massage may help with your level of arthritic swelling and pain, the therapist will massage the affected joints which should improve the stiffness and pain, or you could learn how to do a self-massage and save money.
7. Fatty acids in your diet
Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to optimize health, most of us need Omega-e fatty acids, some of which we get from eating fish. There are many studies that show Omega-3 can help to reduce pain and stiffness in the joints, why nor try some fish oil supplements. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is beneficial for joint pain relief, it is found in seeds of evening primrose, hemp, borage and blackcurrants, you can also buy GLA in a supplement form
Turmeric contains Curcumin, it is a chemical shown in some studies to reduce arthritis pain because of it’s anti-inflammatory attributes, add Turmeric to your food it may help.
You could try using a Turmeric supplement by Clicking Here.
9. Herbal supplements
Herbs have many benefits, we use them when we are cooking to enhance the flavour of our food, there are a range of herbal supplements on Amazon that seem to be helpful in reducing joint pain and swelling, the ingredients contain bromelain, gingko, stinging nettle, curcumin. These herbs may be helpful as a natural remedy osteoarthritis,
If you are thinking of trying a natural remedy osteoarthritis it is advisable to speak with your doctor beforehand just in case, there are any interactions with the drugs that you are taking.
Osteoarthritis and stress
People often ask “does stress affect arthritis” to be honest we aren’t sure of the connection between the two, we know that high levels of stress allows chemicals to be released affecting the bodies immune system, this causes inflammation in the arthritic joints. As we go through life we have stress the levels can be affected by losing a loved one, financial worries, moving house or a marriage break up, knowing when you are stressed and how it affects your body is important being aware makes you think about ways to relax and relieve the stress.
Ways to relax
- Listen to music
- Read a book
- Have a coffee
- Sing to yourself
- Breathe slowly
- Go for a walk in the forest or beach
- Get with your friends
- Have a laugh with somebody