7 Natural Ways to Ease Arthritis Pain
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Don't look at your legs and think: 'They're fat.' Think: 'These things carry me around all day, and I don't have arthritis. Oh, and I've got great ankles.’ - Trinny Woodall
I couldn’t say it better. Arthritis is a painful chronic illness and I am not going to lie to you – it can’t be cured. There are, however, some natural remedies for arthritis that can help ease the pain. I’ll tell you more about them.
Causes of arthritis
Cartilage is a flexible, firm connective tissue in your joints that protects them by absorbing the shock and pressure experienced during motion. Some types of arthritis are caused by reduction in the normal amount of this cartilage tissue.
OA is among the most common forms of arthritis, caused by normal wear and tear of cartilage. The natural breakdown of this tissue can be sharpened by an infection or injury to the joints. If you have a family history of arthritis, you may be at a higher risk of developing OA.
Research has shown that people with the HLA shared epitope, a specific genetic marker, are five times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis (RA) than those without it. The HLA genetic site controls the responses of the immune system.
Other genes connected to RA include PTPN22, a gene associated with both the development and progression of rheumatoid arthritis, TRAF1 and C5, two genes relevant to chronic inflammation; and STAT4, a gene that plays important roles in the regulation and activation of the immune system.
However, not all people with RA have these genes and vice versa – not all people with these genes develop RA. RA is an autoimmune disorder that develops when your body’s immune system attacks the tissues of the body. This condition affects the synovium, which produces synovial fluid lubricating the joints and nourishing the cartilage.
RA is a disease of the synovium that will attach and destroy your joints. Eventually this extends to the bone and cartilage inside your joint.
No one knows what causes the immune system’s attacks. Moreover, arthritis is by far not the only autoimmune disease and not the worst of them. We can only assume things like bad food, lack of physical activity and too much stress contribute apart from family history.
Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis
The signs and symptoms of the illness include swelling, joint pain and stiffness. Sometimes the skin around the joint turns red, and your range of motion may also become more limited. The symptoms are most pronounced in the morning.
If you are suffering from RA, you may feel tired or lose appetite because the immune system activity causes inflammation, and this takes its toll on the body. Another consequence of arthritis is that you may become anemic or have a slight fever.
If left untreated, severe RA can deform the joints. But this is only if you let the disease progress. If you apply the remedies here, it won’t, and if you apply all of them, I absolutely guarantee it!
1. Olive oil is also perfect for salads
It will pay off to lubricate with extra virgin olive oil. Looking at the consistency of olive oil, it’s obvious that it can lubricate your joints and ease arthritis pain. It helps thanks to its oleocanthal content, which inhibits inflammatory enzymes COX-1 and COX-2, just like over-the-counter anti-inflammatory meds do.
Research shows that 1 tablespoon of olive oil is equal to 200 mg of ibuprofen. You have to use cold-pressed olive oil because heat destroys oleocanthal. Its effect will also depend on how ripe the olives were when they were pressed. If the oil tastes strong, that means they were considerably ripe, from which it follows that the level of oleocanthal was higher.
You can also use it in cooking instead of butter or sunflower oil…or margarine, which you hopefully don’t use...
- 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Massage a bit of olive oil onto your sore joints gently twice a day. You can also eat 2-3 tablespoons daily, but make sure you cut down on others fats because there are plenty of calories in olive oil (read more about the calories in olive oil and other olive oil facts here.) By the way, weight loss is also a great natural remedy for arthritis – more on this later.
2. Basil and cayenne pepper – a spicy and delicious juice
This juice is very refreshing and not too filling. You’ll definitely enjoy it. All the ingredients have anti-inflammatory properties, reducing arthritis pain. The basil adds a nice touch. You can also add apple to make it sweeter. Do not skip the cayenne pepper though – it’s the key ingredient here with the highest Vitamin C content, which reduces joint inflammation. You’ll get used to the kick.
- Basil (fresh) - 3 leaves - 1.5g
- Half a lime
- Cayenne pepper (spice) – 1-3 pinches depending on how spicy you want it
- Blueberries - 1.5 cup
- Watermelon - 5 cups, diced 7
Process all the ingredients in a juicer or blender, shake or stir and drink one glass a day. 60g
Notes: If it’s too bitter, use lemon instead of lime and mint in place of the basil. You can also use fresh frozen fruit, but it won’t be as effective. If the juice is too thick, add some water so it blends better. Sweet and refreshing, this juice is also a great choice for hot days.
Depending on the juicer, more or less of the blueberries may get sent the pulp collector than to the pitcher. Check out another great cayenne pepper and lemon juice recipe here!
3. The Supplement Capsaicin – Available Without a Prescription, Yet Totally Effective
Capsaicin cream can also relieve osteoarthritis pain. It’s made from the active ingredient in chili peppers, which is very purified and produces heat. The reason it’s effective is probably because it neutralizes the pain impulse transmitting chemicals known as “substance P” at nerve endings and calcitonin gene-related protein.
Capsaicin is applied as a gel, topical cream or patch. It depletes substance P and pain messages are then not transmitted to the brain.
Capsaicin has also been shown to reduce pain from fibromyalgia. In a 2010 German study, joint pain diminished almost by 50 percent after participants used 0.05 percent capsaicin cream over a period of three weeks. This is an average dose, as most capsaicin products contain between 0.025 to 0.075 percent of the substance.
Apply the cream for at least three months, three times a day to especially painful areas.
Notes: It might cause stinging or burning over the first couple of weeks of use as substance P is released and neutralized. Do not stop using it because substance P will build up again.
4. Turmeric and Ginger Tea – Amazing Antioxidants
Turmeric and ginger are both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances. They will ease the pain of OA and rheumatoid arthritis. You may have heard of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, also a very strong antioxidant. Why does turmeric work? It reduces the levels of the enzymes causing inflammation.
- 2 cups of water
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- Honey to taste
Boil the water and add the ginger and turmeric. Then simmer for 15 minutes. Strain, add honey and drink two cups a day.
5. Pear and Celery Juice – Pain Relief in a Glass
This juice is delicious and relieves arthritis pain thanks to the great anti-inflammatory properties of ginger and turmeric. The lemon and ginger give it a unique fresh and peppery taste.
- Pears - 2 medium-size
- Celery - 3 stalk, large (11"-12" long)
- Apples - 2 medium
- Lemons (peeled) - 2
- Carrots - 3 medium
- Ginger Root - 1 thumb
- Turmeric Root - 6 thumb
Process all the ingredients in a juicer or blender, shake or stir and drink one glass a day.
Notes: Don’t worry if you accidently use too much turmeric – the more the better! If you use ground turmeric, do not use the root.
One glass of this contains 117.88 grams of carbohydrates. You may need this information if you have diabetes. Click the link for info on carb-friendly diets for diabetics.
Do not leave the lemon peels on – it’ll be too bitter. Moreover, lemon peels are bad for the kidneys.
6. Weight Loss – Sad but True
If you are overweight and suffering from arthritis, it’s time to face the facts. You. Need. To. Lose. Weight.
The best solution — losing weight – it easier than you think.
Every pound you shed translates to 4 pounds less pressure on your knees according to Laura Robbins, senior vice president of education and academic affairs at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. And if you lose 20 pounds or more, your symptoms will diminish greatly.
Did you know you can lose weight without dieting? Here are some tips on how:
- Use smaller dishes that have a color contrast with the food
- Drink more water
- Sleep more
Research shows people eat more when their plates are big and the same or similar color to the food.
Water makes you feel fuller. If you drink a glass or two before meals, you’ll eat less.
Sleep deprivation can slow the body’s production of leptin, a hormone released by fat cells that regulates body weight and appetite.
7. Exercise – the Best Remedy!
“Physical activity - even if you don't lose an ounce, you'll live longer, feel healthier and be less likely to get arthritis. It's the closest thing we have to a wonder drug” - Tom Frieden
Physical activity is essential for people with arthritis. Even taking a 10-minute walk around the block could be helpful.
Contrary to popular belief, exercise does not exacerbate arthritis, it makes it better. Of course, that’s if you’re doing it right! If you are a runner with knee OA, you should switch to softer surfaces and cross-train to prevent further knee damage. A good workout should include both aerobic activities like walking or swimming and muscle strengthening exercises.
People with early stage arthritis can do weight training and stretching exercises just like those without arthritis, but they need to be more balanced to decrease the chance of injury.
If you feel pain during your workout, it may be a bad sign, unless it’s muscle soreness, which is normal. Click here for more information about exercise pain.
Some more exercise tips for people with arthritis:
- Know when to stop
- Include lower- and upper-body exercises
- Work out at the right intensity
How to Prevent Arthritis
Prevention is the best treatment, so here are some more tips on preventing flare-ups:
Hot and Cold Therapy
Simple hot and cold treatments can make a huge difference for your pain. Long, warm showers will help ease the stiffness in your joints, especially in the morning when it’s worst. At night, use a heating pad to keep your joints warm.
Cold treatments can provide great joint pain relief. You can wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply it to painful joints for fast relief.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese therapy where thin needles are inserted into specific points on the body. It is thought to reduce arthritis pain. Find an experienced therapist with a good reputation if you want to try this method.
Meditation might help reduce pain from arthritis by reducing stress and enabling you to deal with it better. Data of the National Institute of Health (NIH) show that people with arthritis and depression benefit from meditation the most out of all patients.
Did you enjoy our list of natural arthritis remedies? If left untreated, arthritis can become debilitating, so do not wait. Try the treatments suggested here and experience pain relief!
Please tell us what you think in the comments and share this article so you can help other people out there who also suffer from arthritis.