Even though the cure for arthritis is not yet discovered, many home remedies can help relieve the condition’s symptoms, such as swelling, stiffness, and pain. While medication is an essential part of arthritis management, lifestyle changes and natural remedies for arthritis can be as crucial in the plan for your arthritis management too. To gain relief from arthritis, you may have to treat the condition from a whole-body perspective, beyond just a medical one. This perspective means that you will have to incorporate all areas of wellness, including your domestic activities. However, it is crucial to understand that home remedies for arthritis should not replace medication because many home remedies are not supported by science, or the research carried out on them is not strong enough.
You will learn the following from this post:
Table of Contents
- Meaning of arthritis
- Causes of arthritis
- Risk factors of arthritis
- Symptoms of arthritis
- Natural remedies for arthritis
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a wide range of medical conditions involving inflammation and joint pain. It is a term that refers to pain in the joints. Over a hundred types of arthritis affect about 55 million adults in the United States alone.
It is safe to ask whether arthritis is a degenerative condition (which indicates that the symptoms become worse as time goes by) or an autoimmune type of arthritis linked with extra-articular symptoms, characterized by a chronic clinical course and inflammatory flares.
There are two types of arthritis – rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA)
Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic condition that triggers symptoms throughout the body. In addition, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly fights off healthy joint tissue, causing inflammation to the joints and other organs of the body.
In the joints, this inflammatory reaction affects the synovium (soft tissue in the joints that secretes a fluid that lubricates the joints and nourishes the cartilage, eventually destroying both cartilage and bone in the joint.
What causes the immune system’s attack is not known. But scientists have found genetic markers that increase your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis fivefold.
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common and severe types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is mainly due to wear and tear of cartilage, resulting in bones rubbing together, causing inflammation, damage, and friction. In addition, an injury or an infection to the joints can worsen the natural breakdown of cartilage tissue.
Cartilage is a flexible but firm connective tissue in the joints, and it protects the joints by taking in the shock and pressure that occur when you move or put stress on your joints. A reduction in the proper amount of this cartilage tissue results in some kinds of arthritis.
Other types of arthritis include:
- Ankylosing spondylitis can also be called arthritis of the spine. This type of arthritis primarily affects the lower back.
- Juvenile arthritis is like rheumatoid arthritis, where the immune system attacks the joints’ tissues. Juvenile arthritis mostly affects children not older than 16 years old.
- Gout is a medical condition that causes hard uric acid crystals to develop in the joints.
- Psoriatic arthritis is a joint inflammation that affects people with psoriasis (a disorder that causes skin irritation).
You have a significantly higher risk of developing osteoarthritis if you have a family history.
Doctors can prescribe the proper medications to help you relieve arthritis pain, but many often recommend natural remedies. Do not try natural remedies for arthritis without first talking to your doctor about it, whether it involves medication or not.
What Causes Arthritis?
There are various causes for different types of arthritis. For example, gout is due to too much uric acid in the body. But for other types of arthritis, the real cause is not yet known. However, you may have arthritis if you:
- have a family with a history of arthritis
- play a sport or have a job that repeatedly puts pressure on your joints
- have some viral or autoimmune infections or diseases
Risk Factors Associated with Arthritis
Some factors can increase your chance of developing arthritis. Some of the factors can be modified, while others are not modifiable.
Non-modifiable Arthritis Risk Factors:
- Age: Your chance of developing most types of arthritis increases as you get older.
- Sex: Females are more affected by most types of arthritis than males. These statistics indicate that 60% of people with arthritis are females. However, males are more affected by gout than females.
- Genetic factors: Certain genes give a person a higher chance of developing certain types of arthritis, such as ankylosing spondylitis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Modifiable Arthritis Risk Factors:
- Obesity and overweight: Excess weight can put unnecessary pressure on the joints, contributing to the progression and onset of knee osteoarthritis.
- Joint injuries: Damage to the joint can trigger the development of osteoarthritis to that joint.
- Infection: Several microbial agents can not only infect the joint but also trigger the development of several forms of arthritis.
- Occupation: Certain jobs involving repetitive knee bending are linked with knee osteoarthritis.
Symptoms of Arthritis
The symptoms of arthritis and how they occur vary widely according to the type of arthritis one suffers. The symptoms of arthritis can either develop suddenly or gradually. Because arthritis is often a chronic condition, symptoms may appear, disappear, or persist over time. However, whoever experiences any of the following warning signs should consult their doctor as soon as possible:
- Pain: Pain resulting from arthritis can be constant, or it may appear and disappear. It may affect only a specific part or be felt in several body parts.
- Swelling: In some kinds of arthritis, the skin above the affected joint becomes swollen and red, including feeling warm to the touch.
- Stiffness: This is a typical symptom. According to some types of arthritis, stiffness may occur upon waking up in the morning, sitting in a car, or sitting at a desk for a long time. With other types of arthritis, stiffness may either be persistent or occur after an exercise.
- Difficulty moving a joint: If getting up from a chair or moving a joint is painful or hard, this could mean you have arthritis or another joint problem.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Joint symptoms of this type of arthritis may include:
- morning sickness that lasts over an hour
- pain that affects the same joints on both sides of the body
- loss of range of joint motion, possibly with deformity
Other symptoms may be:
- chest pain as you breathe in, as a result of pleurisy
- dry mouth and eyes, if there is the presence of Sjögren’s syndrome
- eye discharge, itching, and burning
- nodules beneath the skin, usually an indication of a more serious disease
- burning, tingling, or numbness in the hands and feet
- difficulty sleeping
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
People suffering from osteoarthritis may experience the following symptoms:
- stiffness and pain in the joints
- pain that worsens after pressure on the joint or after exercise
- crackling, grating, or rubbing sound when a joint is moved
- morning stiffness
- pain that affects the sleep
Some people may exhibit osteoarthritis-related changes that show up in an x-ray but do not experience symptoms. This is because osteoarthritis usually affects some joints more than others, such as the right or left knee, wrist, or shoulder.
Natural Remedies for Arthritis
A balanced, healthful diet with appropriate and regular exercise, not drinking excess alcohol, and avoiding drinking can help people with arthritis to maintain their overall health.
There is no certain known diet that treats arthritis, but some food may help reduce inflammation.
The following foods available in a Mediterranean diet can give you nutrients that can improve joint health:
- whole grains
- olive oil
- vegetables and fruits
- seeds and nuts
Foods to Avoid
There are some foods that people suffering from arthritis may need to avoid. For example, Nightshade vegetables, such as tomatoes, have a chemical known as solanine, which some have studied and found to be linked with arthritis pain. However, research findings are blurry when it comes to these vegetables. Also, some people have claimed a reduction in their arthritis symptoms when they avoid nightshade vegetables.
Self-management of the symptoms of arthritis is also crucial. Key strategies include:
- protecting the joints from unnecessary stress
- getting regular check-ups
- achieving and maintaining a healthy weight
- staying physically active
The habits that can help a person who has arthritis to manage their disease include:
- Being organized: monitor medications, pain levels, symptoms, and possible side effects for consultation with your healthcare provider.
- Managing fatigue and pain: a medication regimen can be mixed with non-medical pain management. Learning to live with and manage fatigue is essential to being comfortable with arthritis.
- Staying active: exercise is vital for managing arthritis and also beneficial for overall health.
- Balancing activity with rest: having adequate rest is also as important as staying active.
- Eating a healthful diet: a balanced diet can help you gain a healthy weight and control inflammation. Avoid eating refined, processed foods, including pro-inflammatory animal-derived foods, and go for whole plant foods with high antioxidants and anti-inflammation properties.
- Improving sleep: poor sleeping habits can worsen arthritis pain and fatigue. Make sure you improve your sleep hygiene to find it easy to fall and stay asleep. Avoid strenuous exercise and caffeine in the evenings and reduce screen time before sleeping.
- Caring for joints: tips for the protection of your joints include using the stronger, larger joint as a form of the lever when opening doors, making use of several joints to spread an object’s weight, such as using a backpack and gripping as loosely as you can by using padded handles.
Do not remain in the same position for long periods. Instead, take regular breaks to keep mobile.
3. Physical Therapies
Doctors usually recommend a course of physical therapy to assist patients suffering from arthritis overcome some challenges and decreasing mobility limitations.
Forms of physical therapies that your doctor may recommend include:
- Warm water therapy: having regular exercises in a warm-water pool. The water supports the body weight and exerts less pressure on the joints and muscles.
- Physical therapy: certain exercises are tailored to individual needs and conditions, sometimes combined with pain-relieving treatments like hot or ice packs and massage
- Occupational therapy: practical advice on managing daily tasks, selecting specialized equipment and aids, protecting the joint from damaging any further, and managing fatigue
4. Physical Activity
Research indicates that even though people with arthritis may experience a short-term increase in pain when starting exercise, continued physical activity may be an excellent way of reducing long-term symptoms.
Individuals with arthritis can participate in joint-friendly physical activity alone or with friends. However, as many people with arthritis suffer additional conditions, such as heart disease, choosing the appropriate physical activities is crucial.
Joint-friendly physical activities that are safe for adults living with arthritis and heart disease include:
Your doctor can help you discover ways to live a healthy lifestyle and improve your quality of life.
While arthritis has no cure, the proper treatment can significantly reduce your symptoms. In addition to the kind of treatment or natural remedies for arthritis recommended by your doctor, you can incorporate some lifestyle changes that may go a long way in helping manage your symptoms. Consider applying some or all the natural cures for arthritis that have already been provided in this post. Most people can effectively manage their arthritis and still participate in all the activities they care about.