Arthritis is a common joint disorder that can affect one or multiple joints. A joint, which moves body parts connected by its bones, is an area in the body where two bones meet. Arthritis is not a disease and refers to joint pain, when inflammation occurs in the joint(s). While there are many types of arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are the primary ones.
OA is the slow deterioration of cartilage in the joints and RA is an autoimmune disorder, in which the immune system attacks the body’s tissues. Arthritis can occur in people of all ages, sexes, and races, and it is the leading cause of disability in America. While it is more common in women, it primarily occurs when people get older.
What Causes Arthritis?
Arthritis occurs when there is a reduction of cartilage in a specific joint. Cartilage is the connective tissue in your joints that absorbs pressure and shock during movement or when stress is put on the joints. Regular wear and tear of cartilage leads to OA, but an infection, which occurs in the joint, can also lead to OA. If you have a history of arthritis, your chances of having arthritis increase. RA occurs when the immune system attack’s the body’s tissues. This affects synovium, a tissue that produces fluid that keeps the cartilage healthy and lubricates the joints. Genetics can also increase one’s risk of developing RA.
- Family History
- Age (although this depends on the person)
- Previous Joint Injury
- Infection in the Joint
- Your Gender (women are more susceptible to Arthritis than men)
- Immune System Dysfunction
- Abnormal Metabolism
Natural Remedies For Arthritis
Weight loss is an effective, although not necessarily the easiest, way to diminish symptoms of arthritis. Eliminating processed foods, sugar, alcohol, salt, meat, dairy, and genetically modified foods from your diet is a good way to start. Switching to a plant-based diet that consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and whole grains like barley or buckwheat can help you lose weight. It’s also important to get the right amount of omega-3 fatty acids and anti-inflammatory foods in your diet. Accompany your diet with easy workouts that don’t put too much stress on the joints (biking and swimming are great options). After losing 10-20 pounds, symptoms should reduce.
Many people with arthritis find that acupuncture aids their symptoms. While it doesn’t work for everyone, it can help to relieve pain and inflammation in the affected joint(s).
Hot & Cold Treatments
Using hot and cold treatments can dramatically affect how your joints feel. Hot showers and baths, especially in the mornings, help ease the stiffness in the joints. Applying an ice pack to the affected joint can also help reduce pain. If you have a hot pad or hot water bottle, alternating from hot to cold treatments can help benefit you.
Find Ways To Relax
Meditation or other relaxation exercises can help arthritis because it reduces stress levels. Those with arthritis and depression were helped the most by meditation. Similarly, getting massages helps move the fluid in the body and loosen the joints. Massages also help people with arthritis establish a better range of motion.