Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in many countries, including the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this ailment affects approximately 23% of adults and 50% of those aged 65 and older.
People with arthritis take more time off due work than those with any other medical condition.
TYPES OF ARTHRITIS
Arthritis is a broad category of diseases that cause inflammation, pain and stiffness in the joints.
There are over 60 types of conditions falling under this term. The most common types are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that most often develops in middle age. Over time, stress on the joints can cause the smooth cartilage lining to break down and wear away. Without this cartilage cushion to protect it, bone rubs against bone resulting in pain, swelling, stiffness and reduced mobility.
The joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis are the hands and weight-bearing joints including the hips, knees, feet and spine.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that tends to affect people aged 40 and over. It occurs when the body’s own immune system attacks the synovial tissue which lines the joint, causing it to become painfully inflamed. Over time, this inflammation can damage to your bone and cartilage.
Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects the wrists and hands, causing pain, stiffness and swelling.
OTHER ARTHRITIC DISEASES
- Gout – a painful condition caused by an accumulation of uric acid in the joints
- Enteropathic arthritis – a type of arthritis associated with inflammatory bowel disease
- Psoriatic arthritis – an inflammatory joint condition affecting people with psoriasis.
- Fibromyalgia – a rheumatic disease associated with chronic pain and fatigue
- Cervical spondylosis – a degenerative condition that affects the joints in the neck
- Ankylosing spondylitis – an inflammatory condition that can cause joints in the spine to fuse together
NATURAL CURES FOR ARTHRITIS & JOINT PAIN
Turmeric is a vivid yellow spice used in Indian curries and other Asian dishes.
The active component in turmeric root is curcumin. This anti-inflammatory polyphenol works by inhibiting the activation of genes and production of proteins that trigger pain and swelling. A 2006 rodent study concluded that curcumin profoundly lessened joint inflammation and destruction.
Method: Mix one teaspoon of ground black pepper into 1/4 cup of turmeric powder. Store in a labeled spice jar. Use whenever recipes call for turmeric.
- Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil can temporarily relieve joint pain and inflammation. The active ingredient in eucalyptus is menthol, which decreases pain by increasing skin temperature and blood flow. A commercial eucalyptus ointment is sold as a topical analgesic for arthritis.
Method: Make an ointment by mixing ten drops of eucalyptus oil into about a tablespoon of petroleum jelly. Massage the mixture onto your painful joints as needed.
OR add a few drops to a hot bath to benefit from both the aroma and the topical effects.
- FISH OIL
Arthritis Research UK gives fish oil a score of 5 out of 5 for effectiveness in treating rheumatoid arthritis. The omega-3 essential fatty acids in fish oil have strong anti-inflammatory properties which help to counteract the many inflammatory elements in a typical Western diet. Fish oil also contains vitamin D, necessary for building and repairing cartilage within the joints.
You can increase your omega-3 intake simply by consuming more oily fish such as salmon, trout, herring, mackerel or sardines. If you’re not a fish-lover, you can choose one of the many fish oil supplements available online or in health food shops.
Ginger extract reduces the production of chemicals such as leukotrienes that promote joint inflammation. It also contains salicylates, which the body transforms into salicylic acid, the same pain-relieving substance found in aspirin. Salicylic acid binds to enzymes in the cells and stops them from producing prostaglandins, chemicals which promote inflammation and send pain signals to the brain.
Method: Bring three cups of water to the boil in a saucepan. Add a heaping tablespoon of freshly grated ginger root. Simmer for ten minutes and strain. Sweeten to taste with honey or stevia.
- MODERATE INTENSITY EXERCISE
Many arthritis sufferers believe that exercise will aggravate joint pain, but the opposite is true. A lack of exercise weakens the muscles that support your bones, putting more stress on the joints which increases pain and stiffness.
Safe forms of aerobic exercise for people with arthritis include walking, bicycling, aquatic exercise, aerobic dance and exercising on treadmills or elliptical trainers. Resistance exercise can begin with simply lifting limbs against gravity and progressing to using hand-held weights or elastic resistance bands. Tai chi or yoga can help with balance and coordination, reducing the risk for falls.
- WEIGHT LOSS
Being overweight is an important risk factor for arthritis in the knees, hips and hands.
Carrying excess weight puts stress on the knee and hip joints, which can break down cartilage and cause or exacerbate arthritis symptoms. Being just ten pounds overweight increases the force on the knee by approximately 40 pounds with every step you take.
Stress on the joints isn’t the only link between weight and arthritis; otherwise it would be hard to explain why overweight people are at higher risk for arthritis of the hand.
Fat cells release inflammatory chemicals called cytokines which play a role in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Concentrations of cytokines are elevated in obese individuals.
Method: There are many different weight loss diets to choose from, but arthritis sufferers probably have the most to gain (and lose) from an anti-inflammatory diet. By eliminating inflammatory foods like sugar, refined flour and omega-6 vegetable oils, you could simultaneously lose weight and improve your arthritic symptoms.
Capsaicin is the substance that gives chili peppers their spicy heat. It works by depleting a neurotransmitter called Substance P. This protein transmits pain signals from nerve endings to the brain and helps to activate inflammation in the joints. Less Substance P results in less pain and inflammation.
Method: Gently heat ½ cup of olive oil in a sauce pan and add two tablespoons of cayenne powder. Whisk until the powder is dissolved, allow to cool, and transfer to a glass jar. Rub the oil onto affected joints whenever arthritis pain flares up.
- BORAGE SEED OIL
Borage is an herb native to the Mediterranean and used in a variety of European dishes. It also has a history of medicinal use.
Borage seed oil is the richest source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that helps to maintain the cell structure and function of joints and inhibits joint inflammation. A healthy young body can convert linolenic acid, found in many nuts, seeds and vegetable oils, to GLA. However, age, infection, disease and poor diet may interfere with this process.
- INDIAN FRANKINCENSE
Indian frankincense (Boswellia serrate) is gum resin from the bark of the Boswellia tree. It is a traditional remedy in Ayurvedic medicine. The Boswellic acids found in the resin inhibit enzymes and cytokines that trigger joint inflammation and the autoimmune response. They also help to prevent cartilage loss.
Rosehips are rich in anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Anthocyanins may also help to slow the progress of arthritis by blocking protein-digesting enzymes that break down cartilage.
Method: Wash, top and tail your rosehips. Chop them up in a food processor. Add about a tablespoon of the puree to 3 cups of boiling water. Turn down the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Strain and sweeten to taste.
Source: Remedies For Me