Arthritis is one of the most common chronic health conditions affecting older adults. Commonly referred to as osteoarthritis, arthritis is acute inflammation in one or more joints caused by a fault in the immune system that results in the body attacking itself. This leads to chronic inflammation that can be not only painful but also debilitating.
For the more than 50 million Americans suffering from arthritis (more than half of seniors), a big part of their day includes finding ways to manage arthritis pain. Arthritis symptoms can range from mild to very severe. And can include joint pain, swelling, stiffness, reduced range of motion, and joint redness or warmth. In addition, pain can be constant or come and go.
Fortunately, arthritis pain and inflammation can be reduced and managed. Best of all, there are several treatment methods that don’t even include the use of medication. Here are some of the best natural remedies for inflammation and arthritis pain.
One of the best natural remedies for inflammation in your joints is to stay active. Exercise is a proven way to decrease arthritis pain. It can be challenging to start an exercise routine due to pain, but if you start slow, you can ease yourself into a routine that will produce many anti-inflammatory effects. You should focus on low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, and chair yoga. Moving your body through exercise and stretches can help to prevent further stiffening of your joints.
Monitor Your Diet
Following a healthy diet is essential to fighting inflammation and arthritis pain. Consuming anti-inflammatory foods high in antioxidants will help decrease inflammation and pain. Studies have shown that people who eliminate or limit their red meat and sugar intake have lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an indicator of inflammation in the body. In addition, green tea and omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil have proven to naturally decrease inflammation associated with chronic inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. A balanced diet is essential in maintaining a healthy weight, which is crucial in easing weight-bearing stress on your joints.
Staying hydrated is essential for overall wellness, but if you’re suffering from inflammation, ensuring you drink enough water is incredibly important. Hydration helps lubricate your joints and flushes your body of toxins, which helps fight inflammation. If it’s hot and you exercise, you need to be sure to drink extra water. It’s recommended that older adults drink six to eight glasses of water per day. If you have difficulty drinking enough water, try mixing it up by adding some fresh fruit to your water to enhance flavor. For other tips on how to stay hydrated, click HERE.
Alternate Hot and Cold Therapies
The use of hot and cold therapies are popular methods for treating arthritis pain. Applied heat can help decrease stiffness in the joints, while cold applications can help with pain and swelling. Alternating between the two therapies can help to ensure continuous relief, especially at night. Heat sources can include a variety of effective methods, including taking a hot shower and using a heating pad or a hot water bottle.
Topical analgesics can also effectively offer pain relief due to inflammation. Topical analgesics or pain relievers come in creams, oils, sprays, and even patches that can be placed on painful and inflamed joints and muscles.
Chronic stress is associated with increased inflammatory activity, resulting in the production of cortisol. Cortisol is one of your body’s natural hormones that the adrenal glands produce and release. It’s an essential hormone that helps regulate your body’s stress response and suppress inflammation. However, when you experience prolonged chronic stress, your body begins to experience high cortisol levels and becomes immune to its healing properties, thus leading to inflammation and a weakened immune system.
To help regulate your cortisol levels, learn to limit stress through healthy activities and behavior. Exercise and quality sleep are important for lowering and maintaining healthy cortisol levels. If you frequently find yourself in stressful situations, practice mindful thinking and deep breathing exercises to de-stress and quiet your mind.
For many with rheumatoid arthritis, it’s the joints in your hands and fingers that cause the most pain and grief. Doing the tiniest tasks can be difficult because of a lack of dexterity. Just as you need to exercise to keep your body limber, you need to exercise your hands and fingers to keep them loose. Take part in activities where you must rely on your hands and fingers, such as playing cards, sewing, drawing, or knitting. These activities will give your fingers a workout and help to prevent swelling in your joints.
Inflammation caused by arthritis can make day-to-day activities uncomfortable and near impossible. Natural remedies for inflammation are most effective when combined with proper chronic disease management care from your primary care provider. VIPcare providers are skilled at treating chronic conditions, such as arthritis.
Together, they work with you to find the best and most effective treatment methods to find you relief. They focus on preventative measures, such as exercise and diet, to get to the root cause of the inflammation and assist you in taking the necessary steps to achieve Better Health. Schedule an appointment today with a VIPcare provider near you and start receiving the care you deserve.