Instead of treating your arthritis with another prescription, you may be wondering about natural ways to relieve arthritis pain. The best natural treatments for you will depend on the location and severity of your symptoms.
Talk to your doctor before adding natural remedies to ensure that they won’t interfere with any of your other treatments or conditions.
Using heat to treat pain and swelling is often recommended whether you are using prescription or natural remedies. This can range from taking a hot shower to using a heating pad or including hot/cold pain relief creams.
You could try alternating heat and cold for added relief.
Your muscles support your joints, and to keep your muscles strong, you have to exercise. You’ll want to choose something low-impact and aim to exercise three times per week.
Walking and swimming are good low-impact choices to start with. You could also try cycling or aerobics classes designed around your specific needs.
Acupuncture comes from traditional Chinese medicine. It involved inserting very thin needles in different points of the body to relieve pain and restore function.
Though there isn’t much scientific proof to support these claims, many people suffering from arthritis pain have reported relief. The associated risks are limited, so it is worth trying if you think it may help.
Always validate that the acupuncturist you choose is certified and licensed.
When your joints are deteriorating, you want to try to avoid pressure from extra weight. By losing weight, you can prevent additional joint damage and pain. You may find that you also have increased mobility and range of motion.
Speak to your doctor about setting a target weight and developing a healthy plan to achieve it.
Stress in life is unavoidable, but you have to learn to manage it, so it doesn’t adversely impact your health. When your stress isn’t managed, it affects your quality of sleep and overall lifestyle.
If you aren’t getting enough rest, your arthritis pain will be worse.
Mediation is a form of stress management that doesn’t require medication or medical supervision. You can engage in meditation from the comfort of your home through the help guided meditations you can find online.
Meditation will help to steady your breathing and reduce anxiety. This allows your muscles to relax and get the rest they need.
Many mediation practitioners recommend yoga as well.
Yoga is primarily low-impact and helps you stretch your body to reduce stiffness. It can help you to improve your range of motion and joint function. Many gyms offer yoga classes guided by a professional. You’ll want to let your instructor know of your condition so they can modify positions to your abilities.
Many people use massage to help relieve anxiety and alleviate pain from sore muscles. As we previously discussed, healthy muscles provide better joint support.
Massage hasn’t been proven to reduce arthritis pain, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t help distract you from it and treat other conditions that impact your level of arthritis pain.
The risks of injury are low, but consult your doctor if you have had any injuries or past surgeries.
One of the best natural ways to help with your arthritis pain is to adapt your diet. By avoiding certain foods, you can help manage flare-ups and unnecessary inflammation. Some of the foods you should try to avoid are:
Foods high in AGEs
On the other hand, leafy greens like kale and spinach are ideal foods to enjoy.
A healthy diet will help you with weight and stress management, as well as improving your overall energy.
Omega-3 fatty acids like the ones found in fish oil – docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – may help fight inflammation. Fish oil is one of the most popular supplements, and the Arthritis Foundation recommends up to 2.6 g twice per day if you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
You could also eat two servings (3-ounces each) of fish per week, but fish oil capsules are best to help you accurately monitor your dosage.
Using eucalyptus essential oils both topically and through aromatherapy may help to relieve pain from arthritis. Eucalyptus leaves are full of tannin, which is thought to help reduce swelling.
To use topically, you can mix a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil with 15 drops of a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil or almond oil. If you haven’t used eucalyptus topically in the past, you’ll want to test a small area on your forearm and monitor for up to 48 hours before applying it to your joints.
Research suggests high doses of ginger may be as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) at managing arthritis pain. The Arthritis Foundation suggests up to 2 g per day, taken in 3 divided doses. Or you could drink up to four cups of ginger.
Don’t use ginger to help treat arthritis pain if you are taking blood thinners or have gallstones.
Green tea has been a popular drink for years, but it doesn’t just taste good; it may also be good for reducing inflammation. You can get the benefits of green tea through enjoying it the traditional way, using matcha powder, or taking a green tea supplement.
The research on the effectiveness of drinking green tea is limited. However, even if the benefits for arthritis are limited, it is still a better choice than drinking sugary drinks that may worsen symptoms.
Turmeric has been used for years in Chinese medicine. It has a high concentration of curcumin, which has been scientifically proven to be an anti-inflammatory.
In one study, patients using curcumin for treatment experienced better results than patients on a prescription anti-inflammatory.
You can introduce turmeric in your food or drinks (like turmeric tea), but taking turmeric capsules may be the easiest way to control the amount you are ingesting.
The Arthritis Foundation suggests taking 500 mg of turmeric two times per day. But do not use turmeric to relieve arthritis if you take blood thinners. Consult your doctor before surgery or if you are pregnant.
Including one or more of these natural arthritis treatments may help relieve your pain and cut down on the number of prescription medications you have to take.
But remember that natural doesn’t mean risk-free. Treatments like herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA like other therapies are.
Always do your research and consult a medical professional before altering your treatment plan.