Osteoarthritis is a crippling medical condition that develops when your joint’s cartilage wears away causing the bones to rub together when you move. This can occur either through natural aging, trauma, obesity and various other factors. If you have this form of arthritis, you know how painful and debilitating it can be.
While there are many prescription medications geared toward relieving the pain associated with osteoarthritis, all too often, they pose adverse side effects. However, the following natural treatments are not only highly effective in relieving pain due to arthritis, but they are also very safe and will not break your wallet.
1. Losing Weight
If you are overweight and have arthritis pain in the knees and/or ankles, one of the best ways to relieve your pain is to lose weight. This is because for every one pound that you are able to take off, you will be taking as much as four pounds of pressure off of your knees and ankles.
In fact, in many cases, people who have lost 10 to 20 pounds have stated that their pain virtually disappeared. As such, maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise regime can go a long way in treating osteoarthritis. This does not mean that you need to participate in an exhaustive exercise program: A casual walk around the block is fine.
2. Cayenne Pepper
While cayenne pepper is most commonly known as a spice to add heat to foods, it also makes an effective ointment to treat arthritis pain. This is due to its active ingredient known as capsaicin, which can successfully block nerve endings from sending messages of pain to the brain.
You can make your own ointment at home by mixing together two tablespoons of cayenne pepper with one half cup of lanolin, coconut oil or cocoa butter. If you do not have the time to make your own cream, you can also purchase capsaicin cream over-the-counter at your local pharmacy.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
According to the American College of Rheumatology, Omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation, which can help to relieve joint tenderness and pain due to arthritis. You can find these fatty acids in a variety of foods and supplements including fish oil, walnuts, tofu, tuna, salmon and trout.
However, it is essential to note that results may vary from one person to the next and you may not notice any results at all for several weeks. Additionally, you should always talk to your doctor before choosing to take supplements. In this way, you can find out what dosage will be most effective for you.
4. Glucosamine Supplements
Studies have indicated that glucosamine may relieve osteoarthritis pain; however, you must take the proper type. There are two types of glucosamine, and they are glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride. While glucosamine sulfate is beneficial, glucosamine hydrochloride is not.
Unfortunately, most of the glucosamine products sold in the United States are of the hydrochloride type. Nevertheless, doctors state that when arthritis patients take the proper dosage of glucosamine sulfate each day, they can significantly reduce their discomfort and pain.
5. Heat and Cold Therapy
By applying an ice pack to your affected joints, you can reduce swelling, ease inflammation and relieve your pain. However, do not overdo these treatments. Apply the ice pack for about 15 minutes at a time with 30 minute intervals between each treatment.
Heat therapy is another great way to treat your osteoarthritis as it can help to relax your muscles and encourage proper blood flow. For this type of therapy, it is best to use a warm, damp towel or a moist heating pad. Microwavable heat packs can get too hot. You can also stand in a warm shower or relax in a warm bath if you wish.
These are just some of the best natural treatments to help relieve your osteoarthritis pain. Other things you may want to try include acupuncture, yoga, swimming, Chondroitin supplements and specially-made arthritis creams and gels. As always, be sure to check with your doctor before taking any supplements or beginning any exercise regimens.
To learn more proactive ways to manage or treat your osteoarthritis, contact us for a consultation.