Medication provides relief during bouts of arthritis, but natural treatments can be included in lifestyle changes that reduce symptoms and help people return to their normal routines. In many cases, natural treatments are inexpensive ways to banish a once-crippling condition.
Exercise is one of the simplest methods to maintain flexibility in the joints to avoid painful flare-ups. It increases bone and muscle strength to make physical activity an easy part of your daily routine, according to the Mayo Clinic. An exercise program that fits your favorite activities also improves sleep and controls weight to alleviate joint pain and stiffness.
Range-of-motion exercises might consist of rolling your shoulders back and forth or raising your arms above your head. Strengthening exercises include such activities as weight training to build muscle strength. When doing these or other exercises, it’s best to do them every other day, Mayo Clinic said. Take more days off if you notice painful or swelling joints.
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Aerobic exercises not only help to relieve arthritis symptoms, but they also build cardiovascular health for an overall feeling of well-being. Daily walks, bike riding, swimming, or joining an aerobics class can help to combat arthritis conditions. You can also try yoga and tai chi classes to relax the body. Although no exercise program should be started without consulting your doctor, the Mayo Clinic said to exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day on most days of the week. You can divide the time into 10-minute intervals when starting out.
Hot and cold therapies are natural options to relieve joint pain. Heat relaxes the joints and muscles. Use hot packs or warm towels on the affected area at comfortable temperatures for about 20 minutes, Mayo said. Move gently and slowly following the heat treatment, especially when starting an exercise routine or other physical activity. Apply ice to your joints after an exercise session to reduce pain or swelling.
Losing excess weight can be another way to ease joint pain, and exercising can help. The more weight you lose, the easier the pressure becomes on your joints. This can be particularly helpful to your hips, knees, and feet. You’ll also find an improvement in mobility to perform physical activities more easily and avoid damage to the joints.
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Eat foods with omega-3 fatty acids, such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, and lake trout. The fatty acids are good for heart health and also help reduce joint pain and stiffness. Fish oil supplements may help with stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis, Web MD reported, and omega-3 fatty acids also appear to make anti-inflammatory medications more effective.
Herbal supplements have been touted as natural treatments for arthritis. Although more research needs to be done on many, The Arthritis Foundation listed nine supplements that are backed by scientific data. Among those are Indian frankincense, cat's claw, ginger, and rose hips. Healthline reported that lab rat studies found turmeric reduced joint inflammation.
This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.
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