Home Remedies for Arthritis
While there are many effective medications for arthritis, some sufferers just can’t get complete relief pharmacologically. Others wish to avoid taking a lot of medicine unless absolutely necessary. If arthritis pain has you in its grip, home remedies may be worth a try. Physicians, massage therapists, and other health care providers interviewed for The Doctors Book of Home Remedies (by the editors of Prevention magazine) make the following suggestions for non-pharmacological treatments:
- If you’re overweight, lose weight. This reduces a significant amount of the stress and pain placed on the joints of your spine, knees, hips, ankles and feet.
- Try yoga, which teaches you to stretch gently for strength and mobility. While moving may hurt, NOT moving is actually worse for you.
- “De-stress.” When you are stressed, you tense up and hurt more. Pace yourself through the day and learn relaxation techniques.
- Exercise in water – it can reduce pain and improves flexibility. In fact, any exercise that does not traumatize the joints should be good for you. Exercise can keep joints from becoming stiff as well as improve your overall health.
- Massage the muscles that are attached to the tendons leading to your painful joints.
- Rub muscle ointment into painful joints before bed to help prevent morning stiffness.
- Try scented oils plus moist heat. Rub eucalyptus ointment onto your skin, then cover it with a warm towel.
- Use ice to prevent pain when a joint has been especially stressed. Apply for 15 minutes, then remove for 45 minutes; repeat as often as desired. The ice will help control both the swelling as well as the pain when a joint is inflamed. Ice should not be placed directly on the skin since it can result in a burn. Place a towel or cloth between the ice and your skin.
- If a joint is “stiff” but not painful, try applying moist heat for a short period of time to loosen it up.
- Boost your vitamin C intake if you have rheumatoid arthritis, to correct the vitamin deficiency seen in many patients.
- Increase your intake of oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil).
- Talk with a physical therapist about devices that can make it easier to eat, write, lift objects, and do chores.
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