Arthritis is one of the most common inflammatory conditions today and although it was once considered to be a disease that affects the older generation, it’s becoming more and more prevalent in children and young adults.
The uncomfortable and very painful side effects include swelling and stiffening of the joints which can range from mild to very severe, even leading to high levels of disability that make it hard to perform your daily activities and impair the overall quality of your life.
The main cause of arthritis is chronic inflammation which can sometimes be hard to pinpoint and find its root cause. That’s why even experts can’t completely agree on the exact causes of arthritis. Still, there are some factors that are known to be high contributors to chronic inflammation and although there are some that are impossible to control, others can be regulated by making strong lifestyle changes.
Genetics, other autoimmune conditions, certain medications, and viral infections could all increase the risk of developing arthritis, and unfortunately, they are often out of our control. On the other side, implementing better food choices, increasing your daily level of activity, quitting smoking and alcohol, improving stress management, and focusing on better sleep are all actionable steps you can take to reduce your chance of developing arthritis or at least lower the intensity of your side effects.
Out of all uncomfortable side effects, pain seems to be the hardest to cope with and manage. Medical solutions that exist nowadays include medications, cortisone shots, and physical therapy, but they aren’t the best solution for a condition that is basically uncurable. Focusing on managing your symptoms and finding a way to lower their intensity so that you can normally conduct your daily tasks is the best way forward.
Here are some of the best natural therapies for arthritis pain management.
Increase Your Level of Activity
Arthritis mostly attacks the joints and decreases your range of motion. This makes movement and any type of activities hard and very painful, which in turn, makes your swelling and inflammation worse. Focus on implementing a healthy weekly activity schedule that will help you lower your swelling and with it, your pain.
This can be any type of exercise and depending on your ability, it might range from an intense workout to a simple walk. Whatever it is, exercise will help you manage your weight, protect and keep your joints mobile and flexible, and help you strengthen your tendons and muscles around your joints which will increase your overall level of stability and create a good support system for your entire body.
Manage Your Weight
One of the worst possible things for managing arthritis is gaining weight. Inflammation that occurs from being overweight or obese only adds to the chronic inflammation in your joints, increasing the pain intensity, swelling, and stiffness. The extra weight also increases the pressure on all of your joints, making it hard to increase your daily level of activity.
That’s why most doctors will first recommend you to lose the extra weight and change your diet. Start by eliminating inflammatory, processed foods that only wreak havoc on your body and make your immune system work harder than necessary to fight inflammation, infections, and damage caused by free radicals.
In addition, add more nutrient-rich foods into your diet and supply your body with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other powerful compounds that help strengthen your immune system, lower your blood pressure, feed your microbiome, and keep your blood sugar and cholesterol levels on the low.
Some of the best foods you can add to your diet include Peruvian superfoods like maca, yacon, chia seeds, and cacao which have a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect, helping you fight and push when you most need it.
Quit Smoking and Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Smoking has been linked to worsening your arthritis symptoms and alcohol is well known to add to the overall inflammation in your body. Focus on eliminating both of these debilitating vices from your habits and help manage your symptoms much easier.
In the grand scheme of things, quitting smoking and alcohol should be one of the easiest lifestyle changes you can implement and help manage your arthritis pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Use Hot and Cold Therapy
One of the best natural therapies for arthritis pain includes hot and cold therapy. They could be used standalone or interchangeably, improving your blood circulation and stimulating your lymphatic system, flushing toxins out, lowering inflammation, and reducing the swelling in your joints.
Heat therapy can include warm baths, electric blankets, infrared sauna therapy, and warm pads around your joints. Cold treatments can include wrapping ice packs or gels around your joints,, and cold-inducing ointments.
Try Acupuncture and Acupressure
These ancient Chinese techniques can have a strong positive effect on your arthritis symptoms. They’re known to help reduce your pain intensity, swelling, as well as overall inflammation in your body. If you’ve never tried these techniques before, find a good acupuncturist in your location and go for a consult. They’ll likely want to include some anti-inflammatory herbs and spices in your therapy so you’ll be able to tackle your condition with more success.
Implement Stress Management Techniques
In addition to acupuncture and acupressure, finding self-care relaxing techniques that lower your stress levels and help you relax can do wonders for your level of chronic inflammation. Stress is called a silent killer for a reason, and it’s linked to a variety of serious health conditions.
From autoimmune conditions and heart disease to infections and even cancer, stress plays a big role in disease development. Meditation, journaling, massage, taking long baths, and listening to music: are all amazing ways to lower your level of stress and help you mitigate its negative side effects. Find what works for you and add it to your regular daily routine.
Consider Herbal Supplements
Plants and herbs can have incredible healing effects on the body as a whole, with the ability to lower your inflammation and protect you from disease. Some of these plant compounds can be found in a variety of herbal supplements, but before you start taking them, ask your doctor or naturopath. They are powerful agents and might not be best for everyone’s condition.
Still, some of the most common herbal supplements used for joint pain and swelling include bromelain, Boswellia, ginkgo, devil’s claw, thunder god vine, and stinging nettle.
Arthritis is a chronic condition that can have severe consequences on your range of motion and overall quality of life. Swelling and stiffness in your joints can cause a debilitating amount of pain that can be hard to manage and cope with, even with lifelong medication and injection therapy. That’s why implementing healthier lifestyle choices plays a huge role in managing your symptoms and preventing them from letting arthritis take over your life.