Arthritis is a chronic condition that involves inflammation in the joints. Arthritis forms because the cartilage between joints wears down, leaving bones to rub against other bones, causing inflammation and pain. Apple cider vinegar is a traditional folk remedy for arthritis; however, there is no scientific research in support of this. Always consult your physician before trying any alternative remedy.
Arthritis is the most common disability in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, affecting nearly 21 million Americans. There are over 100 different types of arthritis that vary in severity, but osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is the most common type. No cure has been found for arthritis but treatment for the painful condition helps relieve symptoms. Pain medication, physical therapy and surgery are some options for people with arthritis.
Chronic pain comes in a variety of forms. Joint pain is a common one. If you suffer from stiff, achy joints, you’re not alone. Twenty-seven million Americans have osteoarthritis — leader of the pack when it comes to joint-pain culprits. Whatever the reason, there are special steps that can help ease painful hip, shoulder, spine and knee pain. Here are 5 of them: 1. Eat to relieve joint pain. Food can’t prevent or cure joint pain, but certain nutrients not only enhance muscle and bone strength, they also take a bite out of joint pain. Fill your plate with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, pain-fighting polyphenols, and vitamins C, K, and D. 2. Move to improve joint pain. Resist the urge to hit the couch when your joints hurt. Move through the pain instead. Why? Exercise triggers the production of lubricating synovial fluid and feel-good brain chemicals, and improves joint pain, function, and range of motion. 3. Watch your weight. If you’re overweight, ask your doctor for a safe weight-loss plan. Every excess pound you shed takes 4 pounds of pressure off your knees, and can reduce hip and back pain, too. 4. Work with your doctor. Ask your primary care physician if a specialist can help you with your joint pain. An orthopedic specialist and/or physical therapist may be better equipped to tailor an effective pain-treatment plan. 5. Don’t ignore joint pain. Pace yourself and avoid activities that aggravate your joint pain, such as running long distances, lifting heavy objects, or kneeling for hours pulling weeds. Use a daily pain diary to note the activities that worsen or improve your joint symptoms.
Over-the-counter medications — such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve, others) — may help ease knee pain. Some people find relief by rubbing their knees with creams containing a numbing agent, such as lidocaine or capsaicin, the substance that makes chili peppers hot.
Self-care measures for an injured knee include: Rest. Take a break from your normal activities to reduce repetitive strain on your knee, give the injury time to heal and help prevent further damage. A day or two of rest may be all you need for a minor injury. More severe damage is likely to need a longer recovery time. Ice. Ice reduces both pain and inflammation. A bag of frozen peas works well because it covers your whole knee. You can also use an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel to protect your skin. Although ice therapy is generally safe and effective, don’t use ice for longer than 20 minutes at a time because of the risk of damage to your nerves and skin. Compression. This helps prevent fluid buildup in damaged tissues and maintains knee alignment and stability. Look for a compression bandage that’s lightweight, breathable and self-adhesive. It should be tight enough to support your knee without interfering with circulation. Elevation. To help reduce swelling, try propping your injured leg on pillows or sitting in a recliner.
Joint pain can result from many different conditions. The pain can range from mild to severe and usually stems from lack of lubrication in the joints or, more commonly, inflammationn. -Berries
Vitamin C helps the body create collagen, which is a component of cartilage and may reduce wear and tear in joints. Good sources of vitamin C include raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. -Fish
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in abundance in a variety of fish, including herring, salmon, sardines, tuna and mackerel. Fresh fish is the best source, but fish oil capsules are also readily available. -Fortified Foods
Manufacturers fortify some foods, such as eggs and bread, with omega-3s. Read food labels to see whether a certain food is fortified. -Plants
Several plant foods, such as flax seed, walnuts and green leafy vegetables, are excellent sources of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. ALA is the plant-based version of omega-3s and can also help relieve joint pain -Wild Game Buffalo and venison are both excellent sources of omega-3s. As buffalo meat’s popularity increases, many supermarkets now carry it.
If you suffer from arthritis, ease your painful symptoms by eating plenty of foods and ingredients that naturally reduce inflammation, such as these foods that contain plenty of carotene. The carotenoids are a group of powerful antioxidant nutrients found in many fruits and vegetables. The best known is beta carotene (found in foods like cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, kale, butternut squash, and spinach), but its sister carotenoid, beta-cryptoxanthin, may also reduce the risk of developing inflammation-related disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers have found that people who ate diets high in beta-cryptoxanthin were half as likely to develop a form of inflammatory arthritis as those who ate very few; in fact, adding just one additional serving each day of a food high in beta-cryptoxanthin helped reduce the risk. Some of the best foods for beta cryptoxanthin include winter squash, pumpkin, persimmons, papaya, tangerines, red peppers, corn, oranges and apricots.
Millions of people have stiff, painful knees thanks to osteoarthritis. Remedies range from keeping active and dropping excess weight to steroid injections and even surgery. But research shows that you can take a tastier route to improvement. Soy People with knee pain reported less discomfort and used fewer pain meds after eating soy protein every day for three months, according to Oklahoma State University research. Soy is rich in isoflavones, plant hormones with anti-inflammatory properties. Study participants consumed a powdered soy drink mix that contained 40 grams of protein, but, says study author Bahram H. Arjmandi, PhD, you can get the same benefit from sources like flavored soy milk, edamame (baby soybeans), and soy burgers. Fruit
In a study of 293 Australian adults, eating plenty of fruit reduced the risk of developing bone marrow lesions—a marker for worsening knee osteoarthritis and pain. The knee-friendliest fruits appear to be vitamin C–packed ones, like kiwi, orange, mango, grapefruit, and papaya. The researchers suspect it’s the vitamin C in fruit that protects the knee joint and supporting structures. Fish Many studies have found that fish and fish oil ease the joint pain and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis. Now a study shows that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish may block not only the chemicals that cause inflammation in osteoarthritis but also the proteins known to wear down knee cartilage. Eat two servings of oily fish (such as mackerel or salmon) weekly or take one gram of omega-3s in capsule form every day.
Aloe vera is one of the most commonly used herbs in alternative medicine. Known for its healing properties, it is popular for treating small skin abrasions. You may already have a bottle of aloe vera gel in the medicine cabinet from a past experience with sunburn for pain relief. This same type of product may be applied topically to soothe achy joints. Like aloe vera, eucalyptus is widely available in western markets. It is used in oral medications, and topical oil extracts are used for a variety of conditions. Topical forms of eucalyptus leaves are used to treat arthritis pain. According to UMMC, these plant leaves contain tannins, which may be helpful in reducing swelling and the resulting pain that arthritis causes. Some users follow up with heat pads to maximize the effects of eucalyptus on swollen joints.
If you’re looking for an alternative to pills to treat joint pain and other common (and uncomfortable) aches, relief may be a yoga class away. A review of 20 years worth of studies conducted by researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that yoga is effective in the treatment of chronic pain, including osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
In the studies reviewed, patients saw significant reductions in joint pain, muscle stiffness, and overall physical discomfort while greatly improving their flexibility, range of motion, and muscle strength.
Performed correctly, yoga’s fluid movements allow swollen or otherwise painful joints to glide smoothly over one another, increasing mobility and strength without excess wear and tear. Yoga is a safe alternative to weight-bearing exercises that could worsen weak joints because it strengthens the muscles around them, which reduces tension and increases mobility.
Garlic and onions lovers can be happy! Here’s another reason to the love of the flavorful kitchen staple: they can help prevent joint pain and even reduce your chances of developing osteoarthritis by 25 percent. Garlic, onions, scallions, shallots and other members of the allium family offer the joint health benefits, so if you’re not a big garlic fan, there are plenty of other ways to reap the benefits. Garlic and other alliums contain diallyl disulphide, which acts as a buffer to keep cartilage-damaging enzymes out of your body. It’s also what gives them their pungent, earthy aromas. Start adding more garlic and onions to all your meals – whether it’s soup and salads or meat and potatoes – both taste good in just about everything! If you’re worried about your breath afterward, mix in some fresh parsley or basil, which can help release breath-freshening oils.
Salmon oil’s anti-inflammatory properties reduce pain by reducing swelling and irritation, especially in joints. Salmon is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and these same compounds may also help reduce pain-promoting inflammation. That makes it a win-win for people with rheumatoid arthritis and those who have greater risk of heart trouble.
Studies have suggested that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil may protect against developing rheumatoid arthritis and could mitigate the severity of the disease. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, it would not hurt to consume these tuna, mackerel and sardines are also excellent sources of omega-3.