Contrary to popular belief, arthritis isn’t just one disease. The term arthritis encompasses more than 100 diseases that affect the joints in the human body. Some of the most common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, and gout.
But regardless of which type of arthritis we are talking about, they all share specific uncomfortable symptoms. Arthritis is characterized by inflammation and swelling of the joints. It can affect any of the joints in your body. Arthritis is more common in adults who are over the age of 65. There are different types of this condition that can affect people of all ages.
Arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability around the world. More than 22% of people over the age of 18 suffer from arthritis in the United States alone. As the age expectancy increases and the world population gets older, arthritis is expected to become more and more frequent over time.
The symptoms of arthritis can vary from mild to extremely severe. These symptoms can remain relatively stable for years, or they can worsen progressively. In either case, it is beyond doubt that living with chronic pain poses a tough challenge for patients with arthritis.
Arthritis usually requires long-term management. The treatment for this condition will largely depend on the type of arthritis you have and its severity. However, there are specific natural home remedies that can help you keep your symptoms under control. These remedies can help you lead a more active and comfortable life despite arthritis.
Read on to discover the most effective home remedies for arthritis.
Home remedy 1. Reach a Healthy Weight
This is one of the most critical steps that you need to take if you want to protect your joints. Weight loss can lessen the pain caused by arthritis and even improve your quality of life. Reaching a healthy weight can also help you become more active and mobile and regain a healthy routine.
Getting professional help to determine the best way to lose weight is very important. A medical doctor or dietitian can help you create a meal plan that is healthy and satisfying but still good for weight loss. It can also be beneficial to get advice on which types of exercise are best for people with arthritis so that you don’t injure yourself.
Most experts agree that adults can benefit from performing at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. That might sound like a lot, but in reality, going for a brisk walk for 30 minutes 5 times a week can cover this requirement.
Home remedy 2. Heat and Cold Therapy
Heat and/or cold therapy is one of the oldest, cheapest, and most effective home remedies for arthritis. This treatment is so effective that it is also used to treat many other muscle and tendon injuries.
Heat and cold have different effects on your joints. Heat can soothe aching joints and muscles, and it helps these tissues relax and loosen up. It can also improve circulation and increase nutrient delivery to the treated area, which can speed up healing.
Cold, on the other hand, slows circulation, constricts blood vessels, relieves pain, and reduces swelling. These effects make cold therapy ideal to treat acute pain. Cold packs, bags of frozen vegetables, or cold baths can be used. Don’t apply ice directly onto your skin; ideally, you should place a cloth buffer between the source of cold and your skin.
Heat therapy can be very useful to relax your joints and muscles before and after working out. You can use warm baths, heating pads, warm compresses, or warm paraffin treatments to harness the benefits of heat therapy. It is essential to ensure that the temperature of these treatments isn’t hot enough to cause burns.
Home remedy 3. Meditation
Did you know that something as simple as meditation can ease joint pain in patients with arthritis? This might sound too good to be true, but evidence supports it. Meditating can make you feel calmer, helps restore psychological balance, and it can make it easier for you to cope with your condition.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction or MBSR is useful in the treatment of arthritis. Several studies have found that meditation can improve quality of life, lessen pain, and relieve symptoms of depression.
You need to be consistent with meditation to see its benefits. It is important to remember that this practice isn’t meant to replace medical treatment or physical therapy. It should be used as a complement to your usual treatment. Even meditating for 15 to 20 minutes twice a day can be very beneficial for patients with this condition.
Home remedy 4. Turmeric
Turmeric is a yellow-colored spice that comes from the ground roots of the turmeric plant. It has been used in Indian cuisine for centuries. But this spice isn’t just tasty: it also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a component that can block inflammatory pathways in your organism. In scientific studies, curcumin has been shown to have similar effects on diclofenac, ibuprofen, or celecoxib. It can reduce joint swelling and pain. It can also prevent inflammation and provides long-term relief for these symptoms.
It is essential to keep in mind that in high doses, curcumin can act as a blood-thinning agent, and can cause gastrointestinal symptoms. Always check with your doctor to make sure that turmeric won’t interact with any other medications you are currently taking.
Home remedy 5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have a wide range of health benefits. From protecting your heart to preventing Alzheimer’s disease and even fighting depression, it seems like these acids are suitable for everything. Well, it turns out that they are also good for your joints.
Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the production of pro-inflammatory substances in every part of your body. Daily supplementation with omega-3 can improve symptoms for patients with arthritis and even help them overcome their anti-inflammatory drug intake. Other studies have shown that omega-3 yields result faster when it is combined with olive oil.
Home remedy 6. Capsaicin
Capsaicin is the component that makes chili peppers spicy. Capsaicin produces local heat, which affects pain receptors and makes them lose their function, thus reducing painful sensations in the area. Studies have shown that capsaicin can provide significant pain relief in patients with arthritis when used regularly.
Capsaicin is extracted from spicy chili peppers and added to patches, creams, and gels. The extracted capsaicin is highly diluted to make these products since it can cause chemical burns otherwise. Don’t apply capsaicin products to open wounds, irritated skin, or mucous membranes, and only use a thin layer of capsaicin on your skin.
Home remedy 7. Boswellia Serrata
Boswellia serrata is a tree that produces Indian frankincense, and it has been used in traditional Indian medicine to treat arthritis and diabetes for centuries. The plant contains boswellic acids, which have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
Boswellia serrata can even inhibit autoimmune processes and slow down cartilage damage associated with different types of arthritis when taken for several months. Studies have found that patients with arthritis experience significant pain reduction, increased mobility, and improved walking ability after taking Boswellia serrata supplements. This remedy has also been shown to be more effective when combined with curcumin supplementation.
Home remedy 8. Vitamin D
Vitamins, in general, are essential to keep your organs functioning properly. But vitamin D has been linked explicitly to the development of several autoimmune disorders, including certain types of arthritis.
Research has shown that nearly 75 percent of Americans don’t get enough vitamin D. This could be a risk factor for the development of conditions like arthritis, depression, certain types of cancer, and other chronic illnesses. Different studies have linked low levels of vitamin D with poor joint health.
If you want to increase your levels of vitamin D, you will need to get some sun exposure. Keep in mind that a few minutes of mild sun exposure will do the trick and that you still need to use sunscreen whenever you go out in the sun. Taking a daily vitamin D supplement can also be beneficial.
Home remedy 9. Yoga and Tai Chi
Both of these ancient disciplines rely on gentle, fluid movements and slow breathing to improve flexibility and strength. These activities can also help you achieve mindfulness, which – as stated above – can also help relieve symptoms of arthritis.
Yoga and tai chi are widely considered to be very beneficial for patients with arthritis. Since they are based on low-impact slow motions, they are safe for people of all ages. These disciplines can relieve joint pain and improve your mood and quality of life.
Of course, both yoga and tai chi can involve movements or poses that can be uncomfortable or painful for patients with joint pain. Fortunately, there are many modified routines available that you can start practicing from the comfort of your own home. It should also be easy to find a group that practices these disciplines in your area.
Home remedy 10. Massage Therapy
There are many different types of massage therapy; for example, a massage can be invigorating or soothing. Several different techniques can be used when giving a massage. But when it comes to arthritis, practically any type of full-body massage can provide significant pain reduction.
Massage therapy can relieve pain, relax stiff joints, and decrease stress and anxiety. Applying moderate pressure during a massage stimulates pressure receptors located under your skin. These receptors send signals to your brain and stimulate the production of stress-relieving substances, such as serotonin. Moderate pressure during a massage can even lower your blood pressure and heart rate.
There are several different types of massage that can be beneficial for arthritis patients. Some of these include:
- Swedish massage
- Hot stone massage
- Deep tissue massage
- Ayurvedic massage
- Anma massage
- Thai massage
- Myofascial release
Home remedy 11. Try the Mediterranean Diet
The foods that you put into your body can have a harmful or beneficial effect on your health. Just like many other chronic conditions, arthritis can benefit from following a particular type of diet. In this case, the Mediterranean diet has shown promising results for patients with different types of arthritis.
The Mediterranean diet relies on fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, yogurt, and healthy fats like olive oil. It is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods, while reducing your intakes of pro-inflammatory dishes, like red meat, processed foods, and sugar.
It is important to keep in mind that no diet will be eliminated from arthritis symptoms on its own. A healthy diet must be combined with regular exercise to reach a healthy weight and restore mobility. You also need to follow the natural or medical treatments that you have been prescribed.
Home remedy 12. Ginger
We all know that ginger is delicious, but did you know that it can also help relieve arthritis symptoms? Ginger, or zingiber officinale, has been shown to increase circulation, relieve joint pain, and reduce swelling.
Ginger has been shown to have properties similar to those of celecoxib. It is widely considered to be a safe substance to take as a supplement, and it reduces the production of pro-inflammatory chemicals in our body. Research has even shown that ginger could “turn off” specific inflammatory genes, which means that it could potentially have benefits as a long-term therapeutic option.
Ginger extract is available in pills, capsules, powders, oils, and tinctures. You can also try drinking ginger tea several times each day. This tea also has a host of other health benefits, including nausea relief.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t take ginger if you have gallstones, or if you take blood-thinning medications.
Final thoughts about Arthritis
Any arthritis represents a debilitating condition that can lead to disability and a poor quality of life. Managing arthritis can be particularly challenging since it requires patients to consistently follow a healthier lifestyle, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise regularly. However, doing these things can have a substantial beneficial impact on your quality of life.
As arthritis becomes more common, we have learned more about specific natural remedies and lifestyle changes, which can improve the symptoms of this condition. Fortunately, there are several natural remedies that you can use to complement your treatment and get your symptoms under control.
Andrea, M.D is from Valencia, Venezuela. She is passionate about sexual health and education, and public health and global health. Additionally, she enjoys researching and learning about beauty, skincare, and cosmetic innovations. She has also volunteered in several NGOs in Venezuela. In her free time, Andrea enjoys reading, drinking copious amounts of coffee, making desserts for her family, going to the beach, and spending time with her dog, Dorito.