Arthritis refers to a group of musclo-skeletal disorders characterized by joint pain and inflammation. Joints are the connecting tissues between two bones, and an inflammation of one or more joints is known as Arthritis. Contrary to the common belief, arthritis can affect men and women of all ages. More than 350 million people in the world are dealing with arthritis.
Whether it is Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis or any other kind, the one common feature is the extreme pain and stiffness associated with this disorder. While there is no permanent cure for this disorder, the symptoms are usually manageable with:
- Regular Exercises
- Alternative Therapies
- Natural Pain Relievers
Let’s take a deeper look into each of these arthritis pain management techniques.
Exercising is extremely important when you have arthritis. Moderate and regular physical activity can work wonders for your joint and muscle pain by decreasing fatigue, strengthening your muscles and bones, increasing flexibility and stamina, and improving your general sense of well-being. Here are a few exercises that are especially beneficial:
- Swimming – Swimming in warm water can relieve arthritis pain and joint stiffness to a great extent. The arm and leg movements gently exercise your joints and also strengthen your muscles. Being in warm water raises your body temperature, which causes dilation of blood vessels and increases blood circulation. You can also try hydrotherapy that involves floating in warm salt water, as salt is a natural pain reliever.
- Cycling – Cycling is a good low impact exercise option for arthritis patients. Cycling equipment can be adjusted according to your needs, so you don’t have to exert too much pressure while riding it. For those with severe joint pain, stationary bikes are the best option and they are equally effective in strengthening your joints and muscles. Just keep track of your mileage, and go on increasing your goals by small margins.
- Walking – When you think about low impact exercises that do not involve any jarring movements, there is nothing better than Walking. An effective cardio workout, walking lubricates your joints, increases muscle strength and decreases the stiffness in your joints. The most important thing to consider is that the intensity of your exercises should be neither too low nor too high. Therefore, start at a small and comfortable level, and slowly go on increasing the time.
- Yoga – Yoga is undoubtedly a miracle cure for most physical ailments including Arthritis. Regular practice of Pranayama (Yogic breathing) and Yogasanas (physical postures) can lubricate your joints, improve blood circulation, strengthen your tissues and joints, improve muscle flexibility and provide a complete workout for all your body parts. Get in touch with a Yoga teacher and learn the various exercises that are recommended for arthritis pain management.
- Tai-Chi – Tai Chi is a form of ancient Chinese exercise that involves light, controlled movements focused towards improving flexibility of joints, sense of balance and muscular strength. Recent studies conducted worldwide have shown the remarkable benefits of Tai Chi for Arthritis patients, as it provides a complete workout for all your body parts, ligaments, joints and tendons. It also helps in relaxing your mind so you can cope up with the pain in a better manner.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a well-known Chinese therapy that has been endorsed by the WHO as an effective treatment for pain. Disposable, stainless steel needles are used to stimulate your body’s energy-channels or meridians to correct the energy imbalances in your body. The needles stimulate points located near the nerves, which leads to the secretion of endorphins (body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals) and blocks the message of pain from being delivered to the brain.
- Chiropractic: Chiropractic is a remedial system that centered on the structure of the body. Chiropractic treatment for arthritis will be adapted to suit your age, physical built, severity of your condition and your general health. In general, a chiropractor will work on your spine to correct subluxation and other imbalances, and allow your body to cure itself naturally. It is a well-known therapy for arthritis pain relief.
- Biofeedback Techniques: Biofeedback Techniques can help you improve your health by controlling various physiological functions in your body such as your heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature, muscle tension etc. This gives you complete control over your body, so you can treat various health disorders.
NATURAL PAIN RELIEVERS
From natural herbs that treat inflammation to techniques that influence the brain’s remarkable healing powers, nature offers many treatments for conditions such as arthritis, and other musculo-skeletal disorders. Listed below are some of the natural pain relievers that you can comfortably use for getting rid of the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.
- Capsaicin: Capsaicin is an active component of Chile Pepper. It desensitizes the nerve receptors called C-fibers that are responsible for pain sensations, and also reduces the joint tenderness temporarily.
- White Willow Bark: It contains salicylic acid (a compound from which aspirin, a pain-relieving drug is made). White willow bark blocks the production of inflammatory prostaglandins and decreases pain to a large extent.
- Fish Oil: Fish oil contains EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) that work as natural anti-inflammatory agents, by blocking the production of chemicals that cause inflammation and pain. Fish oil contains omega 3 fatty acids that lubricate and strengthen the joints.
- Devil’s and Cat’s claw: Devil’s claw is a South African herb that contains ‘iridoid glycosides’, which are known for their analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Named after its hook-like horns, cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa) is a woody vine native to the Amazon rainforest. It is used to treat a variety of health problems, including arthritis, stomach ulcers, inflammation, dysentery, and fevers.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is a common remedy for cold, cough, inflammation and pain. It contains curcumin, which is a powerful painkiller and anti-inflammatory agent.
- Glucosamine: Glucosamine is the building block of cartilage, tendons and other connective body tissues. Not only does it preserves these body tissues, but also inhibits the activity of enzymes that can destroy cartilage. A lack of Glucosamine is considered to the primary causes of arthritis. Glucosamine acts as a ‘shock absorber’ for the joints and improves their flexibility in a natural manner.
For long-term relief from joint pain and inflammation, you will need to follow a complete pain management program that involves regular exercises, a healthy diet, and use of natural remedies as far as possible. While these are not quick-fix solutions, they can be very effective at managing your pain and reducing inflammation, thus, allowing you to live an active and healthy life.