If you have arthritis, you know this degenerative condition makes your joints painful and inflamed. Your prescription anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers only do so much, and they sometimes cause undesirable side effects.
While your doctor may not recommend going off your medications, you can help make them more effective by pursuing certain natural remedies. Remember to consult the experts at Spinal Healthcare & Physical Medicine before trying any of these ideas.
Staying physically active has two major benefits when it comes to relieving arthritis pain:
- It can help you lose weight and thus reduce stress on your joints, particularly your hips, knees and ankles. Some patients watch their symptoms disappear after losing just 10 to 20 pounds, says Dr. Roy Altman, a rheumatologist and professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.
- Physical activity helps your joints remain more flexible, which increases your range of motion, decreases your pain and helps prevent further damage to your joints.
Avoid weight-bearing exercises such as walking or running. Instead, seek low-impact workouts such as swimming or riding a stationary bike. These exercises flex your joints and help you burn calories without exacerbating your arthritis. The experts at Spinal Healthcare & Physical Medicine can help you create the perfect exercise program for you.
Apply Heat and Cold
Sleeping with a heating pad and taking a hot shower in the morning can do wonders for easing joint stiffness. Then, cold treatments are good for quick relief from arthritis flare-ups. Wrap a towel around a gel ice pack or bag of frozen peas and apply to the painful area for up to 20 minutes for much-needed relief.
Receive Chiropractic Adjustments
Many arthritis sufferers benefit from chiropractic adjustments aimed at restoring mobility to your joints. Traditional chiropractic care is about adjusting the spine and neck, but it can go beyond this to minimize joint damage and slow the progression of arthritis, no matter which joints the condition affects.
Keep in mind that chiropractic care isn’t for every arthritis sufferer, and you shouldn’t seek an adjustment during a flare-up. Talk to the Spinal Healthcare & Physical Medicine team to determine if you’re a good candidate for chiropractic care.
Get a Massage
Gentle massages can help reduce joint pain and stiffness while improving your range of motion. This may be a good option if you determine chiropractic adjustments won’t work for you. You can work with a physical therapist to learn self-massaging techniques or schedule regular relaxing, tension-relieving sessions with a massage therapist at Spinal Healthcare & Physical Medicine.
Eat Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Everyone benefits from eating the right fatty acids, but they’re particularly beneficial for reducing joint stiffness and pain in arthritis patients. You can find omega-3s in the following foods:
- Fish (halibut, herring, salmon, trout, tuna, oysters, sardines)
- Fortified dairy products (eggs, margarine, milk, soy milk, yogurt)
- Enriched grain and nut products (bread, cereal, pasta, oatmeal, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds, walnuts)
- Vegetables (kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, watercress, mint, parsley)
- Oils (canola, flaxseed, mustard, soybean, walnut)
While it still involves popping a pill, taking supplements is a natural way to help relieve arthritis pain. Many supplements have great promise, but more studies are needed to verify their efficacy. Talk to a Spinal Healthcare & Physical Medicine expert for help deciding which of these supplements, if any, you should take:
- Glucosamine sulfate combined with chondroitin
- Avocado soybean unsaponifiables
- Highly concentrated ginger
- Rose hips
- Fish oil
You can apply topical creams to your skin to temporarily relieve pain during a flare-up. Rub the cream on your knees, ankles, feet, elbows, wrists or hands to relieve pain there. Your options include:
- Diclofenac gel (sold in the US as Voltaren Gel or Pennsaid and available only with a prescription)
- Capsaicin cream (available over-the-counter without a prescription)
In addition to these natural remedies, Spinal Healthcare & Physical Medicine also offers joint inflammation injections for immediate pain relief. If these or any of our other arthritis treatments interest you, please contact us or call (260) 493-6565 today for a free consultation.Leave a reply →