Arthritis is the term for a group of conditions that cause joint inflammation and pain. Although medical treatments can help, some home remedies and lifestyle changes may also reduce symptoms.
In the United States, arthritis affects more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children.
There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related diseases. The most common type is osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative disease that wears away the cushioning between the joints, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Another common type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints and other parts of the body, causing uncontrolled inflammation.
Arthritis of any type can cause pain and result in lasting damage to the joints. In this article, we outline some of the most effective home remedies for slowing disease progression and treating the symptoms of arthritis.
1. Aquatic exercises Aquatic exercise can relieve pressure on the joints while providing a workout. Aquatic exercises can be beneficial for people with arthritis. Water provides resistance, which helps increase exercise intensity. At the same time, the buoyancy that the water provides helps support body weight, relieving pressure on the joints. 2. Weight loss
According to the Arthritis Foundation, each pound (lb) of body weight equates to 3 lb of added stress on the knees and 6 lb of added pressure on the hip joints. This increased pressure causes the cartilage between the joints to break down more quickly, worsening osteoarthritis. Losing weight can ease pressure on the joints, reducing pain and stiffness.
3. Tai Hhi
Tai chi is a low-impact exercise that incorporates slow and gentle movements to increase flexibility, muscle strength, and balance. In 2013, researchers conducted a review of seven studies that investigated the effectiveness of tai chi for improving arthritis symptoms. The authors concluded that a 12-week course of tai chi was beneficial for reducing pain and stiffness and increasing physical function in participants with osteoarthritis. 4. Yoga
Iyengar yoga is a type of yoga that focuses on correct anatomical alignment and uses props to support the body and relieve tension and inflammation. 5. Hot and Cold Therapy A cold pack can help reduce swelling. Heat and cold treatments are two different but effective methods for reducing arthritis pain.Heat therapy boosts circulation and can soothe stiff joints and aching muscles, while cold therapy restricts blood vessels, which slows circulation, reduces swelling, and numbs pain. People can try alternating heat and cold, but it is essential to monitor the skin carefully for damage from these treatments and discontinue their use if an injury occurs.
6. Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness is a form of meditation. When practicing mindfulness, people try to focus their attention on their feelings and what their body is experiencing in the present moment. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a program that uses mindfulness to help people manage pain and stress, both of which can compromise the immune system.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, regularly massaging the muscles and joints can help soothe pain resulting from arthritis. Experts believe that massage lowers the body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol and the neurotransmitter substance P, which has an association with pain. Massage also helps improve mood by boosting serotonin levels.
8. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
TENS is a method of pain relief that uses electrodes in the form of sticky pads that attach to the surface of the skin to deliver small electrical currents to the body. Current guidelines advise people not to use TENS for osteoarthritis pain, as there is no evidence that it can help.
9. Vitamin D
Vitamin D builds strong bones and helps maintain the function of the immune system.
10. Omega-3 fatty acids
Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the body and play a role in regulating the immune system. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include nuts, seeds, and cold-water fish, such as salmon, tuna, and sardines. People can also take omega-3 supplements. These supplements are available in some health food stores and pharmacies, as well as online.
11. Chondroitin and Glucosamine
Some people take chondroitin sulfate or glucosamine hydrochloride for osteoarthritis.
However, there is not enough scientific evidence to show that they can benefit people with osteoarthritis, and they may have adverse effects. For this reason, current guidelines advise people not to use these supplements.
Some examples of medications include:
1. Analgesics for pain control, such as acetaminophen
2. NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen
3. Corticosteroids, which reduce inflammation
4. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), which slow or stop inflammation but weaken the immune system
5. Targeted DMARDs, which target specific inflammatory issues rather than suppressing the entire immune system
When to see a doctor
Without treatment, arthritis can cause permanent damage to the joints or progress more quickly.
People with arthritis should work with a doctor to decide which home remedies may work best with their medical treatment plan.
A person should visit a doctor if they experience any of the following symptoms for 3 days or more:
1. Pain, swelling, tenderness, or stiffness in one or more joints
2. Redness and warmth of the skin surrounding the joint
3. Difficulty moving the joint or performing daily activities
Arthritis is a progressive condition that causes pain and stiffness in the joints. Many different medication interventions are available, but using home remedies alongside these may be more effective in relieving pain and increasing mobility.
Common home remedies include massage, specific supplements, heat and cold therapy, and gentle exercises, such as yoga and tai chi.
People should speak with a doctor if they have any concerns about using home remedies for arthritis. It is also vital to ask about any supplements before taking them because they might interact with existing medications.