Natural Ways to Ease Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is a leading cause of disability in the United States. The Arthritis Foundation says one in every five adults has arthritis.
A complex family of musculoskeletal disorders, arthritis consists of more than 100 different diseases that destroy joints, bones, muscles, cartilage and other connective tissues. This can compromise physical movement and lead to pain.
Treatment of arthritis, which has no cure, typically involves reducing pain and improving mobility. While pain medications can be prescribed to treat arthritis, there are other more natural ways to handle arthritis.
Eat foods that reduce inflammation
Arthritis causes inflammation in the joints and connective tissues. A number of foods, including tart cherries, have been found to reduce inflammation. According to research from Oregon Health & Science University presented in 2012, tart cherries have the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food. Tart cherries have been specifically linked to high antioxidant capacity. They reduce inflammation, at levels comparable to well-known pain medications. Spinach, walnuts, garlic, and broccoli also can reduce inflammation.
Use hot and cold treatments
The University of Washington School of Medicine says hot and cold treatments can reduce swelling, relax muscles and relieve pain. Cold packs can numb sore areas. Heat sources, in contrast, can help ease pain gradually and limber up tight joints and muscles.
Exercise a few times per week
Although it may hurt to move around, frequent exercise can actually be beneficial in the end. Low-impact exercises like walking, swimming and cycling three times a week can help to keep joint pain at bay. Always consult with a doctor before beginning an exercise regimen to find out if it is right for you. Once you get the green light, start gradually. If you are experiencing pain for more than an hour after a workout, it was too much for your body to handle and you need to lighten the load.
Being overweight can put added pressure on joints and cause more pain. Shedding a few pounds may be all it takes to get substantial relief from pain associated with arthritis.