Natural Remedies for Arthritis
13 Natural Remedies for Arthritis
When joint cartilage wears away, bone rubs against bone, causing osteoarthritis. Sounds painful? It is.'' Osteoarthritis seriously impairs the quality of life for 27 million Americans. Given that osteoarthritis is so disabling, painful, and common, lots of quack “cures” are out there, from shark cartilage to copper jewelry to snake venom.
But here are 13 natural remedies that research suggests may actually help ease arthritis pain.''
The best remedy—maintaining a healthy weight, and losing weight if necessary—is not the easiest.
Still, every pound you pare off means 4 pounds less pressure on your knees, says Laura Robbins, senior vice president of education and academic affairs at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.
Some people will see their symptoms disappear if they lose 10 to 20 pounds, says Roy Altman, MD, a rheumatologist and professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Physical activity is essential for people with osteoarthritis, whether it means walking around your apartment if you’re a fragile older person or swimming laps if you’re in better shape.
People used to think that exercise made arthritis worse, but the opposite is true—unless you’re pounding the pavement. (Runners with knee osteoarthritis should cut down on mileage, try to cross-train, and run on softer surfaces like tracks and dirt paths.)
Exercise programs should include both aerobic exercise—like walking, swimming, or biking—and strengthening exercises, such as isometric and isotonic exercises, Dr. Altman says.
Many people find that acupuncture helps relieve pain and disability due to arthritis; several studies have found benefit from the procedure.
“Several trials show acupuncture to be helpful for many people with osteoarthritis,” says Dr. Altman. “It’s not helpful in everybody.”
There is some evidence that suggests that glucosamine alleviates arthritis pain, but the type of glucosamine matters.''
“There continues to be a lot of controversy about it. There’s a fair amount of data that glucosamine sulfate is beneficial, but glucosamine hydrochloride is not,” Dr. Altman says. “Almost all of the products that are sold here in the United States are glucosamine hydrochloride. There are no trials demonstrating that glucosamine hydrochloride benefits people with osteoarthritis.”
In the studies that did find benefit for glucosamine sulfate, Dr. Altman says, patients took 1,500 milligrams once a day, which resulted in better absorption in the body than splitting the dose.''
Early research found that this supplement was promising when combined with glucosamine. However, more recent studies indicate it’s not effective. Although some studies suggest that chondroitin sulfate slows arthritis progression, it hasn’t been shown to help symptoms, says Dr. Altman. Studies that found the supplement helpful used 800 milligrams or 1,200 milligrams daily.''
“They’re really pretty safe,” Dr. Altman says of the supplements. “The one thing about them is there’s no major side effects. They’re fairly well tolerated.”
Other supplements have shown promise, but the evidence just isn’t that strong, says Dr. Altman.
Industry-funded studies have found benefits for avocado soybean unsaponifiables (ASU), which are made from avocado and soybean oils, in patients with hip and knee arthritis. But such studies aren’t as reliable as those funded by groups that don’t stand to gain financially.
There’s some evidence that rose hips and highly concentrated ginger could be helpful, Dr. Altman says.
Although fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties, more research is needed.
Strong-smelling mentholated rubs and creams may make your skin tingle, but many have limited value for osteoarthritis, says Dr. Altman.
However, there are some creams now available that have proven benefit, he adds. Diclofenac gel, sold in the U.S. as Voltaren Gel or Pennsaid by prescription (but available over the counter in Europe), is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that can ease osteoarthritis pain in the knees, ankles, feet, elbows, wrists, and hands. It hasn’t been evaluated in osteoarthritis of the spine, hip, or shoulder. (Dr. Altman is a consultant for Novartis, the maker of Voltaren Gel.)
Capsaicin cream can also relieve osteoarthritis pain, and it’s available without a prescription.
It’s made from the substance that gives chili peppers their heat. Nobody knows how it works, although one theory is that the cream relieves pain by depleting the nerve ending of pain-impulse-transmitting chemicals known as “substance P” and calcitonin gene-related protein, Dr. Altman says.''
Electrical energy can be used to help ease pain and swelling in arthritic joints in a couple of different ways. Physical therapists often employ transcutaneous electrostimulation, or TENS, which involves placing electrodes around the affected joint and delivering electromagnetic pulses through the skin. And there’s electroacupuncture, in which the provider uses needles at acupuncture points that are attached to electrodes to pass an electric charge through the acupuncture needles. There’s some evidence that both approaches can help provide at least short-term pain relief and also ease joint stiffness.''
Chiropractic therapy won’t help with osteoarthritis. But what it is useful for, says Dr. Altman, is treating the muscle spasms that often accompany the condition. For example, if you have acute lower back pain, chiropractic manipulation can break up the muscle spasm and scar tissue, easing the pain. Heat and cold treatments can also be helpful for easing these muscle spasms, which aren’t only painful, but can interfere with sleep.
Most of the time you don’t need to see a physical therapist, Dr. Altman says. Still, in some cases physical therapy can be invaluable. For example, a person who is so weak that he or she has trouble getting out of a chair can benefit from physical therapy, and possibly even have PT adminstered at home. But the therapist should be experienced in treating osteoarthritis. “Many physical therapists are used to treating stroke patients or sports injuries or other things where they’re used to pushing people a lot,” Dr. Altman says. “Physical therapy for osteoarthritis needs to be more gentle.”
Shoe inserts, canes, splints, braces, and other devices that can help redistribute your weight to take the load off an arthritic joint or hip can be very beneficial, says Dr. Altman. They are particularly helpful, for example, if someone has become knock-kneed or bow-legged as a result of having arthritic knees; unloading braces can help restore normal weight distribution, reduce pain, and prevent your arthritis from getting worse. While evidence for the benefits of shoe wedges is mixed, according to Dr. Altman, some people will find them helpful, especially if they have leg length discrepancies greater than a half-inch.''
It’s not a therapy, but learning more about arthritis is actually a powerful weapon.
It’s crucial that you understand osteoarthritis and what your limits are—and aren’t, says Dr. Altman. There is a lot of good information on the Web, he adds, from the Arthritis Foundation and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example.
You also need to find a doctor, whether it’s your primary-care physician, an internist, or a rheumatologist (a specialist in diseases of the joints), who can take the time to work with you to develop an exercise plan and answer your questions, he says.
“In some physicians' offices where they only have seven minutes to see you, you’re not going to get that education.”
How to Treat your Arthritis Naturally at Home
Citation: Disabled World News (2010-06-19) - List of home remedies to help treat arthritis naturally at home by reducing pain level
Arthritis is pain in the fingers, knees, elbows, hips jaw-any place In the body where there Is a joint between bones.
Arthritis can be very painful due to joints being surrounded by many nerves which are needed to make the complicated joints work properly.
There are many forms of arthritis like Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid Arthritis; to name just two, but we are not going into that now. What we are looking at here is natural remedies.
A lot of arthritis sufferers very often turn to natural herbal remedies and botanical methods to gain release from their symptoms. But do these natural alternatives do what they promise? Can you find relief from herbal supplements?
There are many herbs and such like that has shown some promise in helping treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and we will just look at a few of them:
Boswellia - For thousands of years Boswellia has been used as a natural anti-inflamatory. Extracts of the gum of this tree, which is mainly found in India, have long been used to relieve joint pain and inflammation. Modern scientific research has confirmed that boswellic acids contained within the herb are able to stop the formation of leukotrienes, the immune cells responsible for inflammation. With regular use blood supply to the joints is also maintained allowing for soft tissue to be nourished and viable.
Scientific research has shown that boswellia has the ability to inhibit the inflammatory mediators in the body, reducing pain and inflammation without irritating or ulcerating the lining of the stomach. Boswellia has also seen to be highly effective in the treatment of ulcerative colitis.
Thunder god vine - A supplement that is derived from a perennial vine that is native to Asia, also In areas of China, Korea, and Japan. The root is peeled away to make this herbal supplement and Is by tradition, been used to treat autoimmune illnesses and inflammatory conditions. It has been find by research that thunder god vine does indeed contain anti-inflammatory activity, and some immune-boosting activity has also been discovered.
One clinical trial carried out at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that roughly 80 per cent of those patients who were given a high dose of the plant supplement found that their rheumatoid arthritis symptoms got better considerably. However, researchers have found that this and other studies are too small to prove the true efficacy of this plant-derived supplement.
Cherries - To take away the pain of gout, eat 6-8 cherries per day. They can be tinned, frozen or fresh. This is a Japanese treatment, which they have used for centuries. They also boil the cherries down into a syrup which makes a strong sweet drink. The cherry is a very good source of magnesium (which is a natural painkiller) and potassium. The potassium acts as a diuretic, reducing inflammation by ridding tissue of fluid.
Dandelion leaves - One of the best remedies for treating arthritic conditions probably grows right in your backyard: fresh young dandelion leaves. Because of the high vitamin A and C content, when eaten raw in salads, these greens help the body to repair damaged tissues and help the liver clear toxins out of the blood.
European herbalists have used these anti-pain dandelion recipes for many years. Older leaves should be steam or sauté - like spinach, this is because they are too tough to eat raw. You can also improve the taste by cooking with garlic or add olive oil for a tasty dish. Dandelion can also be made into a tea steep, just 1 teaspoon of dried leaves or 3 teaspoons of fresh leaves in 1 cup of boiling water. Or make a coffee-like, but bitter-tasting, beverage by boiling, and then straining, 4 ounces of fresh root in 2 pints of water. Taken daily, this is a good guard against winter colds.
Desert devil - Devil's-claw - an ominous-sounding cure - comes from the Kalahari Desert of South Africa. For at least 250 years, the Hottentots, Bantus, and Bushmen (all native tribes of this region) have treated arthritis pain with this large claw-like fruit that can trap and injure livestock. The tribesmen's favourite method is to draw an extract from the root and brew it into a tea. Alternatively, devil's-claw can be dried, powdered, and taken in tablet form.
Recent French and German studies found that the pain-relief of devil's-claw is similar to that of cortisone. The root acts mainly as an anti-inflammatory, an effect of harpagoside, its active ingredient. Preparations using the whole plant work even better because it contains additional compounds, such as flavonoids, that enhance the anti-inflammatory effect. Devil's-claw is available in many forms through most mailorder herb companies and health food stores.
Water therapy treatment - A more pleasant and relatively effective home remedy for arthritis pain is water therapy treatments. This entails immersion of affected regions into warm water for about an hour. Best results can be achieved by utilizing a specially designed water tank which is sometimes called sensory deprivation tank. The water temperature is maintained at 93.5 degrees Fahrenheit which is the normal body temperature of a healthy human.
A spoonful of sugar - The British, known for their fondness for sweets, swear by crude blackstrap molasses dissolved in water. When taken every morning, they say this preparation eases and even eliminates pain in the joints. This is some feat in England! (Cold, damp climates usually aggravate a case of arthritis.) The molasses is an excellent source of minerals, including iron, potassium, and magnesium. It is also a concentrated sweet. So it is important to rinse your mouth out or brush your teeth after using this treatment. Otherwise, you may be trading one pain (arthritis) for another - a toothache!
Copper bracelets for arthritis - Until recently, Western doctors dismissed as folklore the idea of wearing copper bracelets as a way of treating arthritis. Indeed, there are many doctors who are still sceptical. Researchers in Australia, however, have found that copper, when coupled with aspirin, is more effective than aspirin alone in treating the pain of arthritis. Since many substances are absorbed through the skin, there may be some truth in this old wives' tale. Copper bracelets are available all over the net.
Ginger - Ginger is very effective in the treatment of arthritis and a host of other ailments. Recent medical research in Holland has indicated that this, too, is much more than just myth. Eating ginger does, according to the Dutch doctors, help alleviate arthritis pain. Use the ginger with anything…soups, sauces, salads etc.
Eucalyptus oil for arthritis pain - An old traditional home remedy for arthritis pain requires the use eucalyptus oil. A small quantity of eucalyptus oil is warmed before applying it in a very thin layer over the painful joint. You would then cover the joint with a plastic wrap. Follow up by applying continuous heat to the joint with the help of steaming towels. This can be a relaxing pain relief routine that can prove beneficial at bedtime for maximum reduction of the arthritis pain.
Bee Stings - An arthritis therapy that may sound more like a punishment was used 2,000 years ago by Hippocrates - bee stings. Once considered to be the leading cure for rheumatism, arthritis, and gout, bee stings were used for centuries by ancient Europeans.Based on this traditional therapy, scientists in Switzerland, France, Germany, and Great Britain devised a treatment that employed a series of injections of the venom- using either a hypodermic needle or a live bee! The bee venom, like many noxious substances, stimulates the immune system to release inflammatory substances. This is known as the counter irritation theory.
Saint Hildegard’s Ointment - Hildegard was a mystic from 12th century Germany whose wisdom still holds true to day. She said “ Detoxify, purify, and regenerate the whole organism.” Hildegard’s recipe for an arthritis ointment was to take 4 parts vermouth, 2 parts deer fat, and 2 parts deer marrow, and mix it into a salve. This ointment was massaged on the painful joints while the sufferer sat in front of an elmwood fire. The warmth of the fire and the stimulation of blood flow from the massage were really the important parts of the treatment. So if you cannot get your hands on any deer fat. goose fat is a much better option and is available all over the net. To get rid of the rheumatic toxins that caused pain, Hildegard prescribed eating fragrant, raw quince. The fruit can be cooked in water or wine, baked in a cake or pie, or made into jellies and candy ( this is popular today during holiday seasons). Hildegard's advice to gout sufferers was to slowly chew (before breakfast) 1 to 3 teaspoons of celery seed powder mixed with spices such as rue, cloves, and saxifrage. For a better taste, the celery powder can be sprinkled on bread with quince jelly. Celery is a diuretic, and the loss of excess fluid can reduce the inflammation associated with the arthritis. Rue contains ruin, which can strengthen blood vessels (preventing them from leaking fluid into tissue and thus preventing inflammation).Warning: Don't use rue during pregnancy. It can bring on bleeding.
Glucosamine - Produced naturally in the body and is found in relatively high concentrations in the joints and connective tissues where its main function is to repair cartilage and maintain joint mobility. It has been shown that between 90 and 98 percent of Glucosamine Sulphate is absorbed into the body.
Because of it's healing properties and the fact there a few reports of side effects Glucosamine has been approved for the treatment of arthritis pain and other joint and muscular pain in more than eighty countries throughout the world. Research has shown glucosamine's ability to both decrease pain and reduce inflammation whilst also allowing an increase in the range of motion in the joints, helping to repair aging and damaged joints throughout the body.
Recent studies have indicated that glucosamine may be at least as if not more effective than the non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin and ibuprofen but without the harmful side-effects connected with these medicines. While NSAIDS provide effective pain relief for arthritis and other joint pain they can also reduce the production of cartilage in the body. In doing so this obviously worsens the condition in the long run and so increases the dependence on the drugs. Not only does glucosamine relieve pain but it also reduces inflammation, repairing the cartilage damage rather than just masking pain.
Aloe Vera for arthritis - Aloe, by its self does not cure or heal anything; it is the beneficial effects of over 200 different nutritional constituents and the way they react to help reduce inflammation and pain which promote healing. Aloe Vera gives a great boost to the immune system and energy levels. So, In other words…..Aloe Vera provides the body with the right agents to take care of itself and to restore and repair body functions and the body's own healing process.
Alfalfa - Commonly used for arthritic treatment, because the tea remedy is effective when taken for two to three weeks with a seven to ten day break between consumption.
Angelica - Another arthritis treatment because it contains anti-inflammatory constituents and muscle relaxants as well as natural pain-relievers. This herb is used in a tea concoction as well, with the same frequency and breaks as the alfalfa remedy.
Black cohosh - An American Indian herb used in the treatment of arthritis symptoms, has qualities similar to aspirin as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-spasm constituents.
Celery - A plant that can be used to treat arthritis. The celery seeds and other portions of the plant contain over 25 anti-inflammatory compounds, as well as providing massive amounts of potassium, which is important because a deficiency in potassium is often a culprit of arthritic pain.
Other herbal medicines used to treat arthritis pain include; feverfew, American ginseng, hop tea, licorice, mustard plaster, oregano, pineapple, red pepper, rosemary, sesame seeds, stinging nettle, turmeric, wild cucumber bark, wild yam, willow, wintergreen, and yucca. Some of these herbs are used topically, as the minerals are absorbed into the skin, while others are ingested internally for maximum benefits.
Many people think that because they are taking an herbal supplement or botanical-based drug therapy, there will be no side effects. The truth is that herbal supplements can be quite powerful and can have strong side effects. Many if not most of all conventional drug therapies are derived from plants and herbs.
The bad news is that there is not enough sufficient research to conclusively prove the efficacy of many of these herbal supplements and botanical-based drugs. Before you try any herbal supplement, it is important that you discuss its use with your doctor.
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