Arthritis is a common problem that affects one in seven Australians. The debilitating condition can cause joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsens with age. The pain and stiffness can make everyday tasks harder, which can ultimately lead to stress.
While there are medical treatments available, some cause serious side effects, which is why a natural approach to pain relief is becoming more and more popular. A study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine recently found methotrexate, a drug commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, could be associated with a higher risk of skin cancer and heart disease. Below, we’ve outlined a number of natural methods that could be used to treat arthritis without causing more pain. Try one or a combination of these methods and see what works for you.
Supplements are usually the best place to begin when looking into natural remedies and rosehip, a berry-like fruit that grows on a few species of wild rose plants, is one of the best, nutritionist Holly Arnold tells Starts at 60. Research suggests that the anti-inflammatory may be effective in relieving some symptoms associated with arthritis. Other popular supplements include Pycnogenol, glucosamine and chondroitin
If you’ve ever experienced chronic pain, headaches or even insomnia, chances are acupuncture has been suggested to you as a possible way of treating these problems. It’s a part of traditional Chinese medicine that’s been around for thousands of years that entails stimulating certain points of the body by penetrating the skin with fine needles in a bid to encourage the body to heal itself.
“The treatment is shown to reduce inflammation, increase blood flow and relax the body,” Arnold says. Meanwhile, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, acupuncture can ease osteoarthritis symptoms.
Meditation has been around for a long time, but more recently the practice has gained popularity thanks to its stress-relieving benefits. Meditation teacher Luke McLeod says by practicing meditation you’re lowering your stress levels, which in turn reduces inflammation and arthritis-based joint pain. “Stress does a lot of nasty things to the body, one of them is increased inflammation.”
Heat therapy is another great way to help relieve arthritis pain, Arnold says, explaining that “[heat] helps ease stiffness and improve circulation”. Heat treatment can include kicking off the day with a warm bath or shower, placing heat pads on aching joints and using an electric blanket as you go to sleep.
Believe it or not, maintaining a healthy weight has many benefits, including reducing pressure on your joints — especially your knees, hips and feet. One study published in the journal Annals of Translational Medicine found weight loss significantly reduces knee pain, function, and stiffness associated with knee osteoarthritis. If you’re looking for the best way to lose weight, Arnold reckons low-impact exercises that are easier on your joints like swimming, walking and cycling are the way to go.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.