Contributor: Eric Bloom
Arthritis is life changing. The severity of pain may make simple, everyday tasks more difficult to manage, so your life is significantly reduced. You may become lonely, even depressed for being incompetent to keep up with what used to be your daily grind. But it does not have to be that way. You can cope, change, and overcome the troubles your condition may present and live a fulfilling life otherwise, with the help of various therapies beyond the norm.
There are conventional and alternative therapies available for people with arthritis, primarily directed to help alleviate the pain, reduce the discomfort, and improve mobility so they can maintain quality day-to-day living. While medical treatments may be enough for some people, it would not hurt to go for unconventional ones and see if they can do any better.
Still, it would be wise to seek advice from a medical professional before embracing alternative treatments in your life. Your doctor may help you develop a complementing treatment structure to enjoy the maximum benefits of both. Although unorthodox therapies may not need a prescription, it is still safest to consult a healthcare professional, especially if you use them alongside medication to reduce the potential risks of side effects or drug interactions.
Here is a lowdown on alternative remedies for arthritis to give you a better idea of your options. Read on.
- Medical cannabis
For many years that the laws approved the use of medical marijuana, it had been such a big help, particularly for people ailing with arthritis. No, it cannot reverse the condition or slow down the progression. However, it can potentially provide significant pain relief, address sleep issues, and manage stress and anxiety. Those benefits may be enough for anyone to consider incorporating medical cannabis, whether it’s in oil or pill form, in their journey.
Another solution which may ease the pain of arthritis is turmeric, an organic ingredient hailed for its supposed anti-inflammatory properties. One Farm’s turmeric relief cream is a topical product made available so people can access the benefits of turmeric in potentially mitigating joint and muscle aches, plus more. It is convenient to use and offers targeted relief on contact. More than just turmeric, it features nature’s most wonderful blend, including cayenne, piperine, arnica, aloe, and eucalyptus. When all those ingredients are combined, you get a potent antioxidant that’s also hydrating and soothing, which will work best not just for your sore joints and muscles but also for your bruised and irritated skin.
- Aloe vera
Aloe vera is largely known as a healing agent. It is primarily employed to treat sunburn and other skin abrasions. But yes, it can also treat arthritis pain. It has anti-inflammatory properties and the strength of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), minus the adverse effects. Using the leaf directly onto the problem area is ideal, but if you do not have access to the plant, you can always refer to the topical treatments that come in gel form.
Similar to the value of aloe vera, people use eucalyptus to treat a wide range of conditions, particularly respiratory discomforts and flu. It has decongestant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory properties that do the work for the body. Those are also the same values that provide pain relief for arthritis while reducing swelling. Eucalyptus is used chiefly as an oil-based product that you can apply directly to the affected area. To avoid the possibility of allergic reactions, you may perform a patch test by using a small amount of the oil onto a portion of your arm and see if it shows any response within a 24-to-48-hour period.
Massage therapy is one of the oldest solutions to arthritis. It helps improve blood circulation and reduce muscle tension, which could lessen the pain. It is a technique preferred by many because it also reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. It eases the pain sensation and elevates the mood, keeping you with a more positive vibe to tackle each day. Several health professionals — including chiropractors, physiotherapists, and physical therapists — can provide therapeutic massages to your problem areas. Experts highly advise that you only trust such professionals for safe practice.
Another ancient practice that could reduce your discomfort due to arthritis is acupuncture. It is based on the theory of qi, or the patterns of energy flow targeted during the treatment to ease the pain. Like with massage therapy, you should turn to a professional acupuncturist for your sessions. There may be little evidence that acupuncture can help people with arthritis manage their pain, but several patients claim it worked for them. You can tell yourself if it is good for you after a few sessions, and then you can decide to continue or not.
Deep breathing provides significant benefits to calm your nerve and reduce the stress that makes the pain worse because it tightens your muscles. And there is a lot of deep breathing involved in meditation, which makes it a frontrunner as one of the best natural remedies for arthritis. You can meditate for a few minutes, or several times each day, whatever suits you to help take your mind off the pain.
Arthritis can hamper your mobility, and one of the few activities you may still do while nursing the condition is yoga. It is a low-impact exercise that combines deep breathing, meditation, and several poses to ease joint and muscle tension while enhancing your flexibility. However, before starting the program with an instructor who handles clients with arthritis, you are recommended to consult your healthcare expert first.
Arthritis affects more than just your mobility. It may also damage your positive outlook. That makes aromatherapy an ideal option to add to your treatment plan. It may not affect the pain, but it can certainly put you in a better mood, so you remain hopeful that both your condition and quality of life may improve.
- Hot and cold treatments
Hot and cold treatments offer sufficient benefits in dealing with arthritis symptoms. They provide varying effects separately, and you can use them simultaneously, depending on what kind of relief you need at the moment. On the one hand, heat therapy relaxes your muscles and improves blood flow. You may use a heating pad or do it in the shower or a tub to ease the tension and soothe your stiff muscles. On the other hand, a cold compress is good at treating swollen and inflamed joints. To enjoy the maximum benefits of cold treatment, one thing you should note is to only apply it onto the affected area and leave it on for 15 minutes each time, with at least 30-minute breaks in between. Overdoing it may make your symptoms worse.
Living a full life regardless of arthritis is possible. But you would have to follow your doctor’s instructions about lifestyle changes you need to make and take advantage of the available treatments to help ease your symptoms, so you can go through the day close to how you used to. You may add whatever alternative therapy that works for you, as long as you are sure it is safe and effective in your case.