Arthritis is a painful condition that can restrict physical movements and cause immense frustration in people suffering from the condition. Any word that has the suffix ‘itis’ denotes to inflammation – as in ‘arthritis’ referring to inflammation of joints.
Types of Arthritis
There are two major categories of arthritis – Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a case of degeneration and a breaking down of cartilage. You could think of cartilage as the soft cushion that forms the vital link in between joints, providing for space and free movement of the joints. Osteoarthritis primarily occurs in knees, hips and in hands, parts of the body that are vital for movement. It could also be the case of shoulders being affected with osteoarthritis, though such cases are not as common as, say, the arthritis of knees or hands. In most cases, osteoarthritis is restricted to these joints, unless other parts become prone to be affected by arthritis, perhaps, due to injuries.
The case of Rheumatoid arthritis is different from that of osteoarthritis. In the case of osteoarthritis, the cartilages wear down, leading to loss of space for free movement around the joints. When the cartilage starts wearing down, what you find is that the joint gets cramped with bones getting into close contact with each other, where there was free space for movement earlier. This causes friction between bones, causing direct damage on to the joints and also leading to pain, restricted movements and ultimately, being a cause for replacement of joints. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, for reasons not yet clearly identified, the immune system starts firing at the body’s own tissues, specifically, the synovium, causing inflammation.
Causes of Arthritis
There are reports of heavy physical activities being one of the causes of arthritis. For instance, when exercises are taken up to the extreme, in the form of heavy weight lifting or obsessive and exhausting long distance running, or in the case of sports activities being pursued vigorously, without proper supportive activities, over a long period of time, there are chances of arthritis creeping into the joints. Hormonal imbalance is another cause of arthritis, especially in women. It is advisable that women take considerable care, especially around menopause phases, to make sure they do not end up with arthritis on account of changing hormonal activities. Nutritional deficiency is also attributed as one of the reasons why people may have to suffer arthritis.
Home Remedies for Arthritis
Managing Your Mind as the First Treatment of Arthritis
People who suffer from arthritis tend to be affected as much psychologically, as they are affected physiologically. Restriction of movements where there was freedom of movement earlier means that it is not just the joint that is affected, but also the mind that tends to be disappointed, frustrated and depressed. However, the first thing that people affected with arthritis need to know is that all is not lost. To be sure, there may not have been a permanent cure for arthritis that has been discovered by science yet – the worst cases have involved joint replacement surgeries, which do have a high success rate. However, surgery could be left as the last resort, as we hope for further advancements in science to bless the people whose joints may have been affected.
But, arthritis is a condition that can be perfectly managed. For one, people affected by arthritis need to rest assured that they are not alone. Arthritis is a very common condition that occurs with age, due to stress, impacts on joints or due to any number of conditions, and which is being managed effectively through proper care and treatment. The first home remedy for arthritis would be optimism and motivation to manage the condition. If you have arthritis, face the condition, accept the reality, and move one with the assurance that arthritis is being managed by many thousands of people around the world, and the society is much more supportive of people suffering from arthritis. When you decide to fight the condition and manage the disorder, the battle against arthritis is half-won already.
Weight Management for Arthritis
It is important for arthritis patients to work towards weight loss. You should check out the best weight loss programme that may suit your needs and conditions. When you reduce weight, the pressure on your joints is reduced by that much and with reduced pressures on joints comes less stress that your joints would have to take, especially when the arthritis that you suffer from is that of your knees. The knees take the maximum brunt of pressure as a result of body weight, and weight reduction is an important natural remedy for arthritis.
The catch, in weight management, is that people who suffer from arthritis to their knees would find it difficult to walk, and walking would be suggested as one of the most important activities of your weight reduction programme. However, as has already been mentioned, it is determination that makes the difference to your condition, not your disease. Do not be deterred by your condition and look for other ways and means that would keep you occupied with exercises and diet, helping you in managing your weight.
Camphor Oil for Arthritis
Painful swellings and inflammations respond to heat and massages. And when you use the right oil for your massage, your joints will feel the relief. You could use commonly available camphor oil and mix it with coconut oil as a natural home remedy for arthritis. Warm up the mix to form gentle aromatic massage oil. Use liberal quantities of the oils to give warm massage to the affected areas regularly, preferably before you go to bed, as treatment for arthritis.
Hot Salt Massage for Arthritis
This one is a simple home remedy for arthritis. You need to take a handful of rock salt and heat it up till it gets as warm as you can possibly bear. Wrap up the hot rock salt in a clean piece of cloth. It should be so hot that you could place it in your knees, but not for a very long duration. Salt is generally used as an anti-sceptic in many conditions, and it would come in handy towards alleviating pain in the case of inflammation of joints as well, proving to be a useful home remedy for arthritis. Keep pressing the warm piece of cloth around the swollen and painful joints to have instant relief from pain and inflammation.
Bathing in the Sea for Arthritis
It is on account of the anti-sceptic properties of salt that it is often suggested that bathing in sea water is an effective natural remedy for arthritis. Water in itself has healing power – when you have pain in your legs, if you can manage a walk along the river or in the seashore, as you wade through the rift of water or through the waves for a few minutes, you would find instant relief to your pain.
In the case of arthritis, you could spend some time in the sea so that the affected areas are caressed by the gentle rocking movements of the sea waves laden with healthy salt, which could act as a natural remedy for arthritis. Of course, if you would rather have your self-management of arthritis done at home, you could always resort to a mix of warm camphor oil massage, followed by another dose of heated rock salt massage as home remedy for arthritis.
Castor Oil for Arthritis
This highly viscous oil is an ideal home remedy for arthritis. Apart from the host of uses that this gives, castor oil could also be used for warm massages of the affected areas in arthritis. Adequately heated castor oil should be applied gently on affected joints and massaged, for an effective home remedy for arthritis.
Water Enriched with Potato
While you could deal with the inflammation externally, it is also important to have your arthritis treated internally, for which, you do not have to reach out any farther than your nearest departmental store. Go for fresh potatoes, cut them into slices without peeling off the skin, and soak it in water. If you can leave this overnight, the goodness of potatoes would have seeped into the water, in the form of beta-carotene and polyphenols.
These are anti-inflammatory and are effective anti-oxidants, which, when taken internally, would act as effective deterrents of pain and inflammation, and as useful home remedies for arthritis. Do make it a point to couple this treatment with external massages.
Mixed Vegetable Juice for Arthritis
That vegetables are good in healing and for nutrition, was taught way back in our good old school days. As we think back at the days of yore, let’s thank our teachers and indulge in a simple and effective home remedy for arthritis. Go for carrot, beetroot, celery and spinach in equal quantities, mix them up, and beat them all into a nice, nutritious juice.
The good thing about consuming this mix of vegetables in water is that your body’s immune system would get a boost. Improved immune system acts against inflammation and hence acts as a natural remedy for arthritis. You may recall that arthritis is also associated with rashes of low fever and tiredness. Boosting your immune system could just be what the doctor would have ordered as cure for arthritis.
Pineapple for Arthritis
You do not have to compromise on taste on this home remedy for arthritis. Pineapples are packed with nutrients and go a long way in addressing inflammation and pain, reducing swellings and alleviating pain. Additionally, pineapples are rich sources of anti-oxidants, which act against the harmful properties of free radicals and protect body tissues from damage.
Pineapples are rich in Vitamin C, which not only promotes healing but also boosts the immune system. Vitamin C also helps in collagen synthesis, the process of formation of collage, the connecting tissue that holds tissues and joints together. So, if you were looking at a sweet home remedy for arthritis that is good on the taste buds as well as hard on inflammation, go for pineapple.
Turmeric Powder for Arthritis
Turmeric is definitely the wonder drug that could have a deep impact on our overall health, with immense properties that come in handy in a variety of ailments. Turmeric comes to the fore when it comes to arthritis too, as you could get some turmeric powder mixed in warm water to be drunk regularly to be an effective pain relief.
Turmeric has long been known in Indian and Chinese traditional systems of medicine as a power anti-inflammatory agent, which could prove beneficial in the treatment and management of arthritis. You could also make a paste of turmeric powder with coconut oil and apply the mixture on the affected areas, on the skin along the affected joints, for effective pain relief and as a useful home remedy for arthritis.
Ginger for Arthritis
Turmeric, as you just saw, is an anti-inflammatory agent that would come in handy in arthritis and related pain. In a similar vein, ginger is also a very powerful anti-inflammatory agent on account of its anti-inflammatory compound called gingerol. Regular consumption of ginger and addition of ginger powder to food and drinks is a good way to promote an active intake of the anti-inflammatory agent.
Honey and Apple Cedar Vinegar for Arthritis
This is a traditionally practised home remedy for arthritis that has been known to relieve the pain of joints associated with arthritis. You could mix equal quantities, say two teaspoons, of honey and cedar vinegar in a glass of warm water and keep drinking this mixture twice or thrice a day, to be able to observe relief from joint pains over a period of a few weeks.
Honey is known for its anti-bacterial activity, along with its anti-inflammatory effects. A combination of honey and apple cedar vinegar is known to clear the system of accumulated toxicity, and promoting a good natural acid alkaline balance in the system.
Turmeric Powder, Ginger Powder and Honey for Arthritis
It is the combined power of the three ingredients, with their powerful anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties, that could be brought to bear on an effective solution that would keep your joints healthy and keep you free from the nagging pain of arthritis.
A simple home remedy for arthritis would be to add half a teaspoon of ginger powder, a pinch of turmeric powder and a teaspoon of honey to a glass of lukewarm water and drink the mixture twice a day for effective pain relief. It is not only effective in the case of arthritis but also when it comes to people who have long standing jobs and experience pain in their legs.
Purslane for Arthritis
You may be excused for not having heard of this tiny herb that is widely prevalent in the Indian subcontinent, as this low profile plant flaunts high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, apart from being outstanding sources of Vitamin A.
It is the presence of Omega-3 fatty acids that are known to be anti-inflammatory and the availability of Vitamin A, a known anti-oxidant, which makes Purslane one of the hot favourites as home remedies for arthritis. While the leaves could be used in salads, they could also be sautéed and consumed with other food. If you love vegetables and greens, you might as well want to include purslane in the recipes and consume as effective home remedies for arthritis.
Diet and Lifestyle for Arthritis
While it is important to take up home remedies for arthritis as important ways to overcome the pain and the cumbersome restrictions on movements that arthritis brings about, it is equally essential, if not more, to focus on arthritis diet and on the other aspects of life that could have a bearing on how you fare with respect to arthritis.
Avoid Omega 6 Fatty Acid Oils
If that sounds like a blanket statement, it is not so, except that there are many different types of omega 6 fatty acids that are known to promote inflammation. Arthritis and other autoimmune diseases are triggered and made worse by the presence of Interleukin 1, or IL 1, as well as by the actions of Leukotriene LTB4, which is found in the body on account of Omega 6 fatty acids consumption.
You would do a good job to cut down on all of those Omega 6 fatty acids that are known to pro mote inflammation, since that is the last thing that you would want when you already suffer from joint inflammation. The vegetable oil that is commonly not good for arthritis and may not be in line with the other initiatives that you take with regard to home remedies for arthritis. The common oils that you would want to avoid would include sunflower oil, safflower oil, and other polyunsaturated vegetables oils.
Avoid Omega-6 Fatty Acid Meat
The meat that you would find increasingly in your neighbourhood stores and other superstores tend to be from animals that are fed with grains that are high in omega-6 fatty acids. If you are looking for sustainable home remedies for arthritis, you would be wise to choose meat that is from animals that have been raised on organic diet such as naturally available grasses.
Omega 3 Fatty Acid Food for Arthritis
While Omega-6 fatty acids may not be what you would want to have when you are looking for home remedies for arthritis, you would definitely not want to miss out on Omega-3 fatty acids and the benefits that they offer specifically with respect to arthritis. Since Omega- fatty acids are pro-inflammatory and cause inflammations as in the case of arthritis, it is important not only to avoid Omega-6 fatty acids but also include Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet to counter the effects of Omega-6 fatty acids with regard to arthritis. According to a study conducted by the Centre for Genetics, Nutrition and Health, it has been observed that Omega-3 fatty acids, when deliberately included in the diet that is otherwise dominated by Omega-6 fatty acids, replace and substitute for Omega-6 fatty acids in cell membranes.
Prominent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include both fatty fish as well as vegetable and plant sources. Tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines are among the popularly prescribed fatty fish that you could trust with for sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. You could also go for other plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids in the form of Soybeans, walnuts, flaxseeds and canola oil. You could pick and choose these prominent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids as per your convenience and convention, even as you analyse how you could substitute your regular ingredients that may be high in Omega-6 fatty acids, as in the case of common vegetable oil, with canola oil, for instance, to go in line with home remedies for arthritis.
Vitamin C for Arthritis
There are numerous benefits of Vitamin C intake in proper amounts, and one of them is the ability of Vitamin C in preventing, curtailing and controlling arthritis. Whether the question is about keeping inflammatory arthritis at bay or it is about ensuring healthy joint functions in the case of osteoarthritis, a regular consumption of 75 mg for women and 90 mg of Vitamin C per day should do the trick on a long term basis.
It has been scientifically found that people who hardly consumed fresh fruit or vegetable were as much as twice as likely to get into trouble with joint problems such as rheumatoid arthritis as ones who made it a habit to consume fresh fruit and vegetables. You could have your daily dose of Vitamin C the natural way as part of home remedies for arthritis, as you consume orange juice, a medium orange or kiwi fruit, a cup of strawberries or cooked broccoli, Brussels sprouts, raw tomato or green pepper. The easy way to remember them is with their bright colours that would make them stand apart and get your attention.
Vitamin E for Arthritis
Vitamin E is a well known and powerful anti-oxidant that could be used in most health conditions, where free radicals may have a part to play. The anti-oxidant property of Vitamin E comes in handy in treating rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, where the vitamin effectively negates the destructive activities caused by free radicals.
Vitamin E also pays an important role in the case of osteoarthritis, where the anti-oxidant property comes into play again, this time in inhibiting the tendency of cartilages to break down, while promoting cartilage synthesis and enhancing bone and joint health and functioning.
Foods to Avoid in Arthritis
Just like there is a list of foods and nutrients that are essential, you would benefit if you avoid consuming certain foods to prevent the conditions from deteriorating, as you try promoting joint health using home remedies for arthritis. You might want to look into fats and fried food consumption patterns to begin with.
While they may not have much to do with arthritis as such in a direct sense, they play a vital role in arthritis management through body weight – the more fatty, fried and junk food you consume, the more your chances are of putting on additional weight, which might be detrimental to arthritis management and might come in the way of home remedies for arthritis. Gluten is one more food substance that you would be better off avoiding, since gluten, found in wheat products, is known to trigger some kind of inflammatory response to the immune system, which might not be good for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Milk and milk products might also not be in line with home remedies for arthritis, thought it might be advisable to avoid dairy products for a week or two to see the kind of response that it produces, before taking a decision in complete avoidance of dairy products.
Exercises for Arthritis
It is important to give movement to the parts affected by arthritis as part of treatment for arthritis. In any case, even when you are not affected by arthritis, keeping your joints in good shape does involve regular exercises. Make it a point to allot some time on a daily basis towards moving your joints cock-wise and again, anti-clockwise, for fixed durations, to keep your joints healthy. Stretching exercises, as well as lifting up your leg sitting on a couch, or giving slight movements to your knee joints using your palms, would help.
If you can swim, there is nothing like that – swimming is a good way to increase body movement, sustain blood circulation, and relax mentally and physically, acting as excellent natural remedy for arthritis. Swimming takes the body weight off the equation – your joints are not stressed in your exercise. Further, swimming is an effective way to lose weight without worrying about our knee joints. Swimming also helps your back and prevents damage to unaffected areas. It would definitely help to keep rotating your joints even if they were not affected and indulging in stretching exercises that would help build muscle strength to support the bones and joints that may have been weakened by arthritis.
Awareness, confidence, positive approach, simple home remedies for arthritis, effective management and a healthy lifestyle would work wonders as effective natural remedies for arthritis, keeping you cheerful all the way.