Arthritis can be a debilitating disease difficult to describe if you've never had it, but the numbers paint a picture that isn't pretty. Arthritis is rated the No. 1 cause of disability in America, with about 50 percent of adults 65 and older reporting a doctor's diagnosis of arthritis, per draxe.com. It's not just a common symptom for older folks, either. Two-thirds of all arthritis sufferers are younger than 65, and it has been estimated that by 2030, there will be more than 67 million Americans over the age of 18 afflicted with this joint- and cartilage-affecting disease. Almost 300,000 children, to include infants, have arthritis or a rheumatic condition. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a result of an overactive immune system, per mindbodygreen.com, and it necessitates an aggressive protocol that can include chemotherapy and other treatments aimed at suppressing the immune system. The most common form of this disease is osteoarthritis (OA), which affects about 33 million American adults. It is the result of normal wear and tear on joints and cartilage, producing symptoms such as joint pain and what curesdecoded.com calls progressive stiffness.
Bones Rub TogetherWith bones and joints wearing down, this opens the way for bones to rub together, thus removing the protection and cushion they need for us to function optimally. While arthritis is incurable, it can be managed so that patients can live relatively normal, fully functional lives, to include exercise and various forms of athletic recreation. There are a variety of ways to treat arthritis, some in combination with one another, although options include prescription medications and/or surgery. Other treatment strategies include physical therapy, weight loss and splints. However, most conventional medical treatments, such as medication, don't address root causes. They can also lead to long-term dependency as well as side effects that can be more than just mere annoyances.
Alternative TreatmentsIf you have been diagnosed with arthritis, you might not have to undergo surgery or live off a prescription or prescriptions for the rest of your life. There are all-natural courses of action you can take, to include acupuncture, anti-inflammatory diets, massage therapy and even chiropractic adjustments that can work wonders. Following are some natural remedies or practices to consider – combined with, and preceded by – consultation with your physician:
- Turmeric/Curcumin. Curcumin is the chemical in turmeric that can reduce joint pain and improve function in some patients.
- Ginger. One study, cited by arthritis.org, found that a specialized ginger extract was as effective as steroids in diminishing the inflammatory reactions in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
- Capsaicin. Found in a variety of chili peppers – to include bell, cayenne, and jalapeno peppers – capsaicin has been shown to temporarily curb the effects of substance P, a pain transmitter, per arthritis.org.
- Cat's Claw. An anti-inflammatory supplement that also is believed to benefit the immune system.
- Omega-3's. Think fish oils. Studies have shown that fish oil, once in the body, is converted into potent anti-inflammatory chemicals. It can also reduce joint tenderness and stiffness in rheumatoid arthritis sufferers.
- Sam-e. This is short for S-adenosylmethionine, an analgesic (pain reliever) that also has anti-inflammatory capabilities, per arthritis.org.
- Boswellia extract. Boswellic acids help improve cartilage health. Boswellic acids are also capable of helping to fight pain as well as inflammation.
- Chiropractic care. Spinal manipulations and targeted massages can help control arthritis pain.
- Eat well. In other words, adjust your diet accordingly. A good place to start are with foods high in sulfur (onions, asparagus), antioxidants (colorful fruits and veggies) and fiber (flaxseeds and ancient grains).
- Manage weight. Excess body fat not only puts added stress on joints, it can also release hormones and chemicals that can boost inflammation and have a hand on worsening arthritis throughout the body, per draxe.com.