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May is National Arthritis Awareness Month. Its purpose is to bring attention to a condition that affects 350 million people worldwide and 50 million people in the US including 350,000 children.
Arthritis is also the primary cause of disability in the US, costing $156 billion annually in medical costs and lost wages.
In this post, find out what arthritis is and how to ease arthritis pain, naturally.
What is Arthritis?
There are three types of arthritis, which is an inflammatory disease.
- Osteoarthritis – the most common form of arthritis, it occurs when cartilage at the end of a bone wears down, exposing bone nerve fibers
- Rheumatoid arthritis – an autoimmune disorder characterized by inflammation and pain in the joints. Over time the inflammation breaks down joint tissue, causing permanent damage.
- Psoriatic arthritis – occurs in conjunction with psoriasis, causing pain and swelling in the joint along with the tendons and ligaments attached to bones.
Arthritis isn’t just a disorder for older adults. Juvenile arthritis affects children as young as one. And two thirds of all people with arthritis are under the age of 65. However, with advanced age comes a higher risk for developing arthritis. Half of all adults over the age of 65 experience pain and swelling in their joints.
There are many medications that doctors prescribe for arthritis inflammation and pain. And I’m not advising that you stop medication. These tips that ease arthritis pain…and also help with inflammation…are natural remedies to try along with your current treatments. You might even find that you can reduce medications or eliminate them entirely, under a physician’s care, of course.
Ease Arthritis Pain
I’ve dealt with my share of arthritis pain. A serious car accident in 1995, at age 38, twisted my neck vertebrae and lower spine, damaged my sternum and ribs and set off an inflammatory…and viral…response in my body that affected those injured areas and my legs for more than 20 years.
The following tips eased my pain by reducing inflammation and swelling in joints, tendons and ligaments. Plus I’ve added a few tips that I’ve come across since my healing.
Eat Foods that Fight Inflammation
Right at the top of the tips list, is this most crucial suggestion: eat more fresh fruits and veggies. After the accident, I suffered pain for 20+ years and saw countless doctors and specialists, trying all kinds of treatments without success. Not once did anyone suggest that I try changing my diet. Anthony William, aka the Medical Medium, quite literally saved my life and ended my suffering. How? By suggesting a plant based lifestyle, via his social media posts and books.
For a complete list of inflammation fighting foods, and more about how my inflammation hid an underlying cause for my pain, click HERE.
On the short list of inflammation fighting foods, include more berries, cherries, watermelon, celery, onions, leafy greens, garlic, herbs, cloves and olive oil.
Avoid GMO corn, wheat, rye, eggs, beef, coffee and milk, as these foods can create more inflammation in the body.
Wash Dishes by Hand
This tip may surprise you! However, washing dishes by hand eases stiff, painful finger joints by immersing them in hot water. Plus the motions of washing and gripping each plate or cup exercises the hands and fingers which helps with joint pain.
Carrying excess weight puts stress on joints, especially the hips, knees and feet. Losing extra weight improves mobility, reduces pain and prevents damage to joints. Eating more fruits and veggies not only fights inflammation, it helps to shed extra pounds too.
Drink Herbal Teas
An easy way to include inflammation and pain easing herbs in the diet is through herbal teas.
The three best to ease arthritis pain include:
- ginger tea – mimics NSAIDs which relieve arthritis discomfort by curbing pain causing chemicals that are part of the body’s inflammatory response. Simmer slices of fresh ginger for 15 minutes in two cups of boiling water or purchase ginger tea bags.
- lavender tea – eases pain and soothes the body by helping it to relax. Plus inhaling lavender’s scent while you drink the tea eases pain further. Steep two teaspoons of dried lavender in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Or purchase lavender tea bags.
- chamomile tea – this soothing tea helps ease arthritis pain in two ways. Drink a cup of hot chamomile tea to relax tense muscles, tendons and ligaments. And make a chamomile poultice. Brew four chamomile tea bags in a cup of hot water. Steep for 20 minutes. Remove tea bags. Soak a clean cloth in the tea, wring out and apply to achy joints.
I just received this amazing loose leaf lavender and chamomile tea that’s the perfect combo for easing arthritis pain! Watch for a future blog post featuring this delicious tea. You can order now, however, through this LINK.
Certain scents can alter the perception of pain. Lavender, mentioned above, reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which helps lessen pain.
Other helpful pain reducing scents include marjoram, rosemary and peppermint.
Inhale crushed fresh herbs or use essential oils in a diffuser.
Make Your Own Heat Pad
Fill a clean cotton sock with uncooked rice and seal with string or sew it closed. Microwave on high for 2 – 3 minutes. Cool slightly then place on sore, achy joints. This DIY heat pad will stay warm for about 30 minutes. Add dried lavender, marjoram, rosemary or peppermint to the rice, for a warm pad with the extra benefits of aromatherapy!
Fill a container with ice water and a second container with hot water, as hot as you can tolerate without burning skin.
Begin with immersing achy fingers or hands into the ice water for one minute then switch to the hot water for 30 seconds. Keep alternating between the cold and hot water, for 15 minutes. Finish with the ice water.
For larger joints such as knees or the back, use bags of frozen vegetables and the DIY heat pad above. Alternate between the frozen veggies for one minutes then the heat pad for 30 seconds, for 15 minutes.
Supplements that Ease Arthritis Pain
Take these supplements daily, to fight inflammation and ease pain:
- vitamin C
- stinging nettle
- vitamin D or 10 minutes of sunshine a day
- vitamin E
- cat’s claw
I personally take eight of those supplements and I can tell a difference when I miss taking them. I recently started taking a supplement called Comfort Guard that reduces pain and inflammation with a combo of turmeric, ginger and boswellia.
Click on photo for more info or to order. This supplement is so helpful!
Massage can help manage joint pain and relieve inflammation. Seek out an experienced massage therapist who knows a variety of modalities for easing pain, stiffness and joint swelling and tenderness. And an experienced energy worker helps tremendously as well.
Relaxation practices such as meditation, tai chi and yoga helps lower arthritis pain by lowering stress. And reducing stress also lowers inflammation.
Tai chi and yoga combine meditation with relaxation, breathing and movement, making them ideal for pain relief.
Incrediwear products increase blood flow to reduce inflammation and swelling. They also relieve pain and accelerate recovery. Rather than using compression, Incrediwear products incorporate semiconductor elements within the fabric that release negative ions when stimulated by body heat.
Those negative ions activate cellular vibrations that speed up blood flow. The increased circulation brings more oxygen and nutrients to the target area, which supports the body’s natural healing process.
The company sells sleeves and braces, socks and apparel. Incrediwear products are especially helpful when an arthritic knee, ankle or foot gets injured, setting off an inflammatory response. I own two of the sleeves, one for each knee!
Low Impact Exercise
Contrary to what one might think, exercise is helpful for easing arthritis pain, in several ways.
Low impact exercises such as walking, swimming, cycling, gardening and tai chi keep joints limber and flexible, strengthen muscles around the joints, offering more support, and help manage weight.
Find an exercise that you enjoy and stick with it.
I speak to myself here. Every time I travel, especially internationally, I spend hours a day walking as I explore the region I’m in. The first few days, my knees protest mightily with aches and pains and stiffness. However, by the fourth day, my knee joints loosen up, move easily and freely, and the pain disappears.
Such beneficial results encourage me to continue walking when I return home. I don’t spend hours a day exploring back in my own city though, so eventually, the daily walks cease. I’m determined to walk more.
Increase Wellbeing by Easing Pain
I hope these tips help with your achy joints.
While a few temporarily ease discomfort, most, when practiced consistently, eliminate inflammation and pain with it.
Low impact exercise, meditation, herbal teas, managing weight, taking supplements and eating foods that fight inflammation can provide long term results. I know. I’m pain free now, except when I injure myself and set off an inflammatory response. The good news is, I know how to handle such a response and restore health.
My desire is to live my best life. To do so, I require a healthy body and high energy. Knowing how to care for my body is a key part of my overall wellness.
Which tip is most helpful for you?
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I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.