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Natural Remedies for Arthritis: The Drug-Free Way for Joint Relief

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An estimated 54 million American adults have arthritis, and that’s just those who have been officially diagnosed. That’s the latest estimate, according to the Arthritis Foundation. When your knee or elbow is flaring up, it’s natural to gravitate towards a Tylenol or Bayer for quick relief. However, the relief is temporary, and continued use comes with a whole host of other problems. Instead, we advocate for natural remedies for arthritis.

What Is Good for Arthritis?

We can write another article listing the top foods and supplements for joint pain. However, we already compiled a good number of articles outlining some proven ingredients for joint inflammation and the studies behind them. We recommend checking out our post on turmeric for joint pain and frankincense for arthritis.

This post will focus on non-food remedies for arthritis. Don’t worry, these remedies don’t require a drastic overhaul in your lifestyle. You just have to put in some time each day, and you’ll get up to hours of relief in return.

1. Lose Weight

Yes, we know losing weight is easier said than done for many people. However, the rewards go far beyond a better-looking body. A growing number of medical literatures reveal a correlation between weight gain and arthritis.

Weight gain puts stress on the joints, especially on the weight-bearing joints like the hip and knees. Here’s another eye-opening fact: every pound of weight gain puts an extra four pounds of pressure on the knees.

Some researchers also suspect that fat tissue may release the pro-inflammatory protein cytokine, which can adversely impact the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system.

READ MORE: 6 Effective Habits for Relieving Knee Pain

While there are various ways to lose weight, we suggest HIIT training first thing in the morning. Training sessions are intense but last no more than 20 minutes, so they don’t eat too much into your valuable time.

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2. Drink Herbal Tea

We know we said we wouldn’t talk about food-related remedies. Well, herbs don’t contain calories, so we don’t really consider them food. Herbs for arthritis include a number of teas or spices you can sprinkle onto your meal.

We suggest seeing our post on anti-inflammatory herbs for inflammation. Anything that brings down inflammation also subsequently relieves joint sores. Some herbs also contain vitamins that may alleviate joint discomfort. Vitamins for arthritis include vitamin C, which studies1 show may treat acute and chronic pain. Some herbs also contain B-complex vitamins. Studies2 show that vitamin B6, in particular, suppresses inflammatory responses in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

3. Try Meditation

Anyone can become a meditator; it doesn’t require shaving your head, wearing a loin cloth, making a pilgrimage to an Indian ashram or becoming one with the universe. It takes as little as five minutes a day. Just stop everything you’re doing and observe any sensations in your body without judgement. If you notice pain or stiffness in your joints, just mindfully observe without condemning or cursing your body.

Meditation is actually one of the best natural arthritis remedies — or one of the best remedies for treating just about any other ailment, for that matter. Science backs this up. In one study3, patients with knee osteoarthritis reported less pain after partaking in a daily 15-to-20-minute meditation twice a day for eight weeks. Another study4 showed it may provide similar relief, at least at the psychological level, for rheumatoid arthritis patients.

An image of a woman getting massaged

4. Get a Massage

You can schedule a massage session with a professional masseuse or even learn self-massage. This is one of the best natural remedies for arthritis that anyone can do for just a few minutes a day. Randomized control trials5 show massage therapy provides relief for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis patients. Studies6 also show that moderate-pressure massage therapy reduces knee pain and increased range of motion.

LEARN MORE: 5 Ways to Minimize Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain

Like meditation, anyone can learn self-massage. The Arthritis Foundation also recommends massages and outlines a number of massage styles you can apply yourself or have a partner apply on you.

5. Apply Hot and Cold Therapy

Studies7 suggest hot and cold therapies provide natural arthritis relief. You may find that both work well or that one provides more relief than the other.

Heat Therapy (Thermotherapy) Methods

Heat promotes blood flow and stimulates muscle relaxation. This makes it effective for chronic pain. Consider these methods:

  • Heat wrap or blanket
  • Warm shower
  • Steam bath or sauna
  • Heated gel pack
  • Electric heating pad
  • Heated paraffin wax

Cold Therapy (Cryotherapy) Methods

Cold exposure reduces blood flow, which subsequently reduces inflammation. Methods include:

  • Cold shower or ice bath
  • Ice pack (simply put ice in a plastic baggy)
  • Cold compress
  • Ice massage

6. Use a Natural Supplement

Do joint supplements work? Yes, arthritis supplements can and do work – provided the ingredients are backed by verifiable research. Otherwise, you’re getting nothing more than a placebo at best.

The best supplements for arthritis should contain natural compounds available in whole foods or herbs. We recommend Total Relief, which you can take daily as a secondary measure along with any of the aforementioned remedies.

START TODAY: You Can Reduce Inflammation Without Using OTC Drugs

When we mention supplements for arthritis, we are NOT talking about NSAIDs. Brands like Tylenol and Bayer have their own arthritis-specific products. We’re not saying you should never use them, but synthetic pills always carry the risk of side-effects and dependency.

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Natural Remedies for Arthritis Are Safe and Dependable

Applying these arthritis remedies won’t reverse the biological clock, but they’ll drastically reduce the symptoms that naturally occur as you hit your 40s and beyond. With these natural remedies for joint pain, you won’t feel so much like the byproduct of your age.

Citations and Sources

1.
Carr A, McCall C. The role of vitamin C in the treatment of pain: new insights. J Transl Med. 2017;15:77. [PMC]
2.
Huang S, Wei J, Wu D, Huang Y. Vitamin B(6) supplementation improves pro-inflammatory responses in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010;64(9):1007-1013. [PubMed]
3.
Selfe T, Innes K. Effects of Meditation on Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis. Altern Complement Ther. 2013;19(3):139-146. [PMC]
4.
Young L. Mindfulness Meditation: A Primer for Rheumatologists. Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2011;37(1):63-75. [PMC]
5.
Nelson N, Churilla J. Massage Therapy for Pain and Function in Patients With Arthritis: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2017;96(9):665-672. [PubMed]
6.
Field T, Diego M, Gonzalez G, Funk C. Knee arthritis pain is reduced and range of motion is increased following moderate pressure massage therapy. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2015;21(4):233-237. [PubMed]
7.
Welch V, Brosseau L, Shea B, McGowan J, Wells G, Tugwell P. Thermotherapy for treating rheumatoid arthritis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(4):CD002826. [PubMed]
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Ryan Tronier

Ryan Tronier is a writer and editor who has worked with NBC, ABC, and USA Today.
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