Arthritis is an umbrella term for approximately 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions. It is a disease that attacks your joints, usually causing inflammation, pain and tenderness that will limit your range of motion. If you add symptoms of the other 100 or so conditions, they will vary a little, but usually these symptoms, in some combination, will remain. The CDC claims more than one in five American adults is afflicted with arthritis or an arthritis- related condition. Don’t despair. There are a few things you can do that don’t involve prescription medications or surgery.
Many adults suffering from arthritis are overweight or even obese. This causes extra stress on your joints. Losing the extra pounds increases your range of motion and relieves stress on your joints, especially hips and knees, helping to prevent further damage to those joints.
Exercise is great in many ways. It keeps your joints working, and the general consensus seems to be if you keep your joints working, they’ll be more flexible. This does not mean go run a 10k race that would simply add stress to your joints. Tai chi, swimming and water aerobics are low impact and work nicely. Exercise also helps keep your weight in check, which is also quite beneficial.
Foods recommended for alleviating the symptoms of arthritis include pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots, fish, olive oil and whole grains. Surprisingly, wine is also beneficial to the treatment of arthritis. Research done in the United Kingdom shows that 45% of people who drink four to six 12-ounce glasses of wine a week have a lower risk of contracting osteoarthritis of the knee; also, a chemical in wine seems to relieve arthritis pain. Foods to avoid if you suffer from arthritis include any of the “nightshade” vegetables, such as tomatoes, eggplant and peppers, because they have a high alkaloid content. You should also avoid milk.
Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. Warning: It is also a blood thinner.
Cayenne pepper is an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant pain reliever when ingested. Warning: Use carefully if you suffer any gastrointestinal issues.
Ginger is an anti-inflammatory. Warning: It is also a blood thinner.
Other herbs may help with the pain of arthritis, but those three are consistently favored in many articles and research.
Mind over matter
Many people use these treatments and have wonderful results, so you cannot completely dismiss them:
This is an ancient Chinese treatment using precisely placed thin needles to alleviate your symptoms. If you choose this method (and it is a reasonable choice, as it has been used for hundreds of years), choose an experienced, reputable acupuncturist.
This is a technique that is used for many different situations, but in this application can be remarkably effective. You close your eyes, control your breathing, relax and imagine yourself in a place without pain, without stress. Continue in this state until you feel the calm, less painful you.