Arthritis is a chronic and painful condition caused by joint inflammation. The two most common types are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis – is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes swelling, pain and stiffness in the joints. Most commonly, this affects the hands, wrists and feet.
Osteoarthritis – affects the joints, making them painful and stiff. It happens when there is damage in and around the joints, and can affect any of your joints. The most common joints to be affected are knees, hips and hands.
Massage and bath soaks can ease the stiffness caused by arthritis.
Soothing Bath Soak
Nutmeg and yarrow oils help to reduce inflammation. Adding these oils to a warm bath combines the soothing effects of the warm water, and the healing benefits of the oils.
Full fat milk - 1 tbsp
Nutmeg essential oil - 3 drops
Yarrow essential oil - 3 drops
Lavender essential oil – 5 drops
How to make
1. Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl.
2. Add immediately to a warm bath, and enjoy a relaxing soak.
Epsom Salt soak
Epsom salts contain magnesium sulphate, a naturally occurring mineral that has been used for pain relief for years.
½ cup Epsom salt
How to make
1. Fill a large bowl with warm water and add ½ cup of Epsom salt.
2. Soak you joints in the bowl until the water goes cold.
3. If you suffer with pain in an area not easy to add to a bowl, such as knees, then add 2 cups of Epsom to a warm bath, and soak for at least 15 minutes.
Other natural home remedies for Arthritis
Maintain a healthy Weight
If you are overweight, this places more strain on the load bearing joints, especially your knees, hips and feet, so try to maintain a healthy weight. Although losing weight is not the easiest option, some people will see their symptoms disappear if they lose 10 – 20 lbs according to expert Roy Altman, MD, a Rheumatologist at the University of California. It will also improve your mobility, decrease pain, and prevent future damage to your joints.
Hot and cold therapy
Applying a compress to the joints, alternating between hot and cold for 30 seconds can help to reduce swelling and pain by increasing the circulation to the area. Repeat for 15-20 minutes.
Cold compresses are especially good if the joints are hot to touch. You can use frozen peas or ice wrapped in a tea towel, or try taking a cold shower in the morning.
Hot can be good for pain relief. Try washing the dishes by hand. Sounds odd, right? But dipping your fingers in hot water can help to relax the joints and relieve stiffness, and the exercise is also good for improved mobility.
Finally, try using an electric blanket at night to keep your joints loose.
Joint cartilage needs plenty of fluids, so aim to drink 8 glasses of water a day.
Try tea - Nettle tea can help to reduce the pain and swelling for many people when taken regularly. Green tea is one of nature’s best anti-inflammatory tools as well as its heart healthy antioxidants and energy boosting properties. Case Western Reserve University researchers gave mice green tea, and found they were less likely to develop arthritis than the mice who drank water.
You can also try drinking turmeric, mix with a little almond milk and honey to sweeten, and drink daily. Turmeric contains a powerful compound called curcumin, which inhibits the enzymes and proteins that cause inflammation. It can’t hurt to add a little of this tasty spice to your dishes when cooking too.
Get some Exercise
People used to think that exercise made the pain worse, but in fact the opposite is true, Exercise is essential if you suffer with osteoarthritis.
Avoid weight bearing exercise such as running, especially pounding the pavements, as this will increase the impact on your knees, but exercise should include some cardio work, such as gentle walking, swimming, or cycling, as well and strength training.
Swimming is particularly good for arthritic joints as the weight of the water supports the joints and reduces the impact on your joints. A Taiwanese study found that working out in water improves flexibility in the hips and knees, as well as developing strength and aerobic fitness, so find a local water aerobics class.
There is some evidence to suggest that glucosamine helps to relieve arthritis pain, but the type of glucosamine is important. Studies in the US did find a benefit from taking glucosamine sulphate (1,500mg once daily), but no trials have demonstrated that taking glucosamine hydrochloride benefits people with osteoarthritis. In most trials, the pain was not reduced, but there was improved function and a reduction on the breakdown of cartilage.
Eat inflammation fighting foods
Avoid sugar laden, high calorie and processed food, and think more Mediterranean style when planning meals. Try fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, olive oil, nuts, garlic, onions and herbs which all contain anti-inflammatory properties.
The best foods for arthritis are:
Broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage - full of a compound called sulforaphane, which helps slow cartilage damage in osteoarthritic joints.
Fatty fish like Salmon, Tuna, Trout and Mackerel - Omega-3 helps fight inflammation. Not a fish fan? It can also be found in walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds or take an Omega-3 supplement instead.
Garlic - a natural anti-inflammatory and great for swollen joints.
Tart Cherries - contains anthocyanin, which gives them their red colour, and subjects who drank cherry juice showed improvements in pain and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis. Cherries can be frozen too, so you can enjoy them all year round in smoothies, snacks, and desserts.
Vitamin C - from eating strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, or melon, which are full of antioxidants that may slow the progression of osteoarthritis.
Going as nature intended reduces the load on the knees, minimising pain by 12 percent according to a study of 75 arthritic people by the Rush University Medical centre. When you do need to wear shoes, find ones that mimic the natural arch of the foot, but don’t lift the heel, which adds pressure to the joints.
Get a little sunshine
Many people with arthritis as deficient in vitamin D, which plays a role in the production of collagen in the joints. To boost your levels of vitamin D, get some sun for around 10-15 minutes, 3 times a week. Dairy products are also a great source of vitamin D.
She says she’s fine
But she’s going insane.
She says she feels good
But she’s in a lot of pain.
She says it’s nothing,
But it’s really a lot.
She says she’s ok,
But really, she’s not.