Although there is ongoing research into rheumatoid arthritis medication, there is no cure for this condition yet. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, and it is advisable to find ways to reduce the condition’s discomfort and its progression, too. However, regular exercise, stress management, a healthy diet, and other home remedies for rheumatoid arthritis can help improve your quality of life.
Complementary treatments and over-the-counter medications can also help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. In addition, disease-modifying drugs can help put rheumatoid arthritis in remission, prevent joint damage, and relieve symptoms. Work with your healthcare provider to get a holistic approach appropriate for you.
You will learn the following from this post:
Table of Contents
- Meaning of rheumatoid arthritis
- Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
- Causes of rheumatoid arthritis
- Best home and natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term health condition that progressively affects several body parts. Typically, blood vessels, lungs, heart, skin, eyes, and joints are more commonly affected. In this condition, the body’s white blood cells attack its own tissues. In addition, RA affects the joints’ lining, causing local swelling, pain, and damage that eventually results in joint deformities and bone erosion.
RA affects other parts of the body as well. It is a severe condition where people affected suffer from frequent flare-ups (aggravated symptoms) and moments of remission (asymptomatic periods). Initially, the small joints suffer damage, especially those of the fingers and toes. Other joints may also be damaged as the disease progresses, like the shoulders, hips, elbows, ankles, knees, and wrists.
There is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis yet, and it is lifelong when it occurs. Several new types of surgery, rehabilitation therapies, and medications have significantly improved treatment options, which have helped prevent or slow down disabilities, progression, and flare-ups. But chronic rheumatoid arthritis can still cause disabilities.
Lifestyle changes, diet, and natural remedies can help reduce discomfort and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis alongside medical treatment. However, natural remedies alone cannot effectively treat rheumatoid arthritis or stop the condition’s progression. It is best to confirm with your healthcare professional before attempting natural remedies. You should consult your doctor as soon as there is swelling of the joints, including other symptoms that may worsen, or if some strange symptoms appear.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The primary symptoms of RA are stiffness, swelling, and pain in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can also trigger more general symptoms and inflammation of several other body parts. RA symptoms often develop gradually over a couple of weeks, but some cases can develop quickly within a couple of days. The symptoms of RA vary from person to person. The symptoms may appear and disappear as they please or change over time. You may experience a couple of flare-ups when your immune system deteriorates and your symptoms worsen.
RA typically affects the joints symmetrically, but this is not often the case. The following are common symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis:
Joint pain is the most common symptom of RA, and an aching and throbbing pain characterizes it. This pain is often more severe in the mornings and after some inactivity.
Joints affected by RA can become stiff. For instance, if your hands are affected, you may be unable to bend your fingers to make a fist fully. Like pain from joints, the stiffness is often severe in the morning or after a period of inactivity. In addition, morning stiffness can be a symptom of another form of arthritis, known as osteoarthritis and Pseudogout. This particular symptom usually wears off within half an hour of getting up, but morning stiffness from RA often lasts longer than this.
3. Redness, Warmth, and Swelling
The joints’ lining affected by RA usually become inflamed, making the joints swell and become hot and tender to touch.
Firm swellings known as rheumatoid nodules can also develop in the skin around the affected joints in some people.
Besides the problems affecting the joints, some people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis exhibit more general symptoms, such as:
- weight loss
- a poor appetite
- a high temperature
- lack of energy and tiredness
The inflammation associated with RA can also sometimes cause problems in other parts of the body, such as:
- chest pain: if the lungs and heart are affected
- dry eyes: if the eyes are affected
Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis
RA is an autoimmune condition, which indicates that it’s caused by the immune system attacking its own healthy body tissues. However, what triggers this attack is still unknown.
The immune system often makes antibodies that attack viruses and bacteria, helping to fight infection. However, if you have RA, your immune system mistakenly sends antibodies to your joints’ lining, where the tissues surrounding the joints are attacked.
This causes the synovium (cells’ thin layer) covering your joints to become inflamed and sore, releasing chemicals that destroy nearby:
- ligaments: the tissue connecting the cartilage and bone
- tendons: the tissue connecting the bone to the muscle
- cartilage: the stretchy connecting tissue between bones
When the RA is not treated, these chemicals begin to cause the joint to lose alignment and shape over time. Eventually, the chemicals can completely destroy the joint. Various reasons why the immune system attacks the joints have been suggested, including an infection serving as a trigger, but none of the theories has been proven to be true.
Possible Risk Factors Associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Various things may increase your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, such as:
- your genes – some evidence indicates that RA can run in families, even though the chance of inheriting this condition is very unlikely because genes play an almost insignificant role in the condition.
- hormones – RA affects more women than men, which may result from the effect of the hormone estrogen, although this has not yet been proven.
- smoking – some evidence indicates that people who smoke are more likely to develop RA.
Complications Associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis can make you prone to other medical conditions, especially if the RA is not adequately controlled. Some of these conditions include:
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- widespread inflammation
- joint damage
- cardiovascular disease
- cervical myelopathy
Best Home Remedies for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Arthritis is of different types, and they can all cause pain. Some natural cures for rheumatoid arthritis may help you manage mild symptoms, especially if you use them with other treatment options. Consider the following natural remedies for rheumatoid pain:
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a commonly used herb in alternative medicine. It’s available in different forms, such as a leaf, gels, powder, and pills. Known for its healing properties, aloe vera is famous for treating minor skin abrasions, including sunburn, but it may also assist with joint pain. Possible benefits of aloe vera include the following:
- It has anti-inflammatory properties.
- It does not have the gastrointestinal effects of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), commonly applied for arthritis pain.
Topical application: You can directly apply a gel to the skin.
Oral medication: Some researchers have indicated that taking aloe vera orally may help reduce osteoarthritis pain. However, more research is needed to confirm that these treatments are advantageous. The use of aloe vera may be safe, but some people exhibit side effects when taken orally. In addition, Aloe vera use may reduce glucose levels and interact with some medications for diabetes. You can buy topical aloe vera online.
Experts of alternative and traditional medicine use Boswellia serrata, also known as frankincense, for its anti-inflammatory properties. Boswellia comes from the gum of Boswellia trees, which are indigenous to India.
According to a review in 2011, boswellic acid seems to contain anti-inflammatory properties that could help people with rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, results from human trials have indicated that frankincense capsules may improve pain, stiffness, and function. However, these were only small studies; more extensive research is needed.
Doses of about 1 gram of Boswellia per day are considered safe, but high doses can damage the liver. Boswellia is available in topical creams and tablet form. In addition, you can purchase Boswellia online.
3. Cat’s Claw
Cat’s claw is an anti-inflammatory herb that may help reduce swelling due to arthritis. Cat’s claw comes from the root and bark of a tropical vine that grows in Central and South America. People have used cat’s claw as an anti-inflammatory and to boost the immune system.
Like many conventional drugs available for rheumatoid arthritis, cat’s claw can suppress tumor necrosis factors. In addition, a certain study of 2002 was cited in which cat’s claw was regarded as effective in reducing joint swelling by more than 50% in 40 people with rheumatoid arthritis.
However, possible side effects of cat’s claw include:
- low blood pressure
- dizziness and nausea
You should not use a cat’s claw if you:
- have tuberculosis
- take medications that suppress the immune system
- use blood thinners
Small studies have indicated that a cat’s claw can be effective against RA, but more extensive research is needed to seal this claim. You can purchase cat’s claw online.
Eucalyptus is a remedy that people use for various conditions. For example, extracts of eucalyptus leaves are used as topical remedies for the treatment of arthritis pain. Eucalyptus contains tannins, which may help decrease pain and swelling related to arthritis. Some people use heat pads alongside eucalyptus to increase the effect. In addition, eucalyptus aromatherapy may assist with easing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
If you are using eucalyptus essential oil, ensure that you always dilute it with a carrier oil before applying it. Use about 15 drops of oil with about 2 tablespoons of almond or any other neutral oil. Ensure that you test yourself for allergies before applying eucalyptus to your body, which is known as a patch test.
Put a small quantity of eucalyptus on your forearm. If you feel no reaction within 24 and 48 hours, it should be safe for you to use. You can buy topical eucalyptus online.
Many people use ginger as a cooking ingredient, but it may also possess medicinal properties. The same compounds responsible for the strong flavor of ginger also possess anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, some researchers claim that ginger could someday be an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Ginger has been an excellent remedy in traditional medicine to treat nausea, but it can also be used for RA, osteoarthritis, and muscle and joint pain.
A certain review of 2016 claims that, in the future, the ingredients contained in ginger could be used as a pharmaceutical treatment for RA. In addition, ginger could help manage symptoms and assist in the prevention of bone destruction. Below are ways of taking ginger:
- Make tea by infusing ginger tea bags or fresh ginger in boiling water for about 5 minutes.
- Add ginger to baked goods.
- Add fresh ginger root or powdered ginger to savory dishes.
- Grate fresh ginger and add it to a salad or stir fry.
Let your doctor know your plan to increase your ginger intake because it can interfere with some medications like warfarin (Coumadin), a blood thinner. You can get ginger online.
6. Green Tea
Green tea is a beverage known worldwide. The antioxidants of green tea may help battle inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis. You can take green tea as:
- a beverage
- powder for adding to smoothies or sprinkling on food
While scientists have discovered evidence that specific components or extracts of green tea may have an effect on arthritis, it is not clear whether the concentration of active ingredients in a cup of tea will assist in relieving symptoms. Green tea is a totally safe beverage for most people; green tea is even considered healthier than some soda, coffee, and other sweetened drinks. Just ensure that you do not add sugar to green tea. More extensive research is needed to determine whether green tea can help reduce inflammation and discover the most effective dose and form of the home remedy. There are selections of green tea online.
You can take various approaches to reduce the progression of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Discuss the treatments that may be appropriate for your condition with your healthcare professional. However, the rheumatoid natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis provided in this post may be effective against your RA condition.